If Everybody Had An Ocean: Reading After Lorenzo Thomas — Master Class with A.L. Nielsen

The occasion for this session is the working through of the poetry of Lorenzo Thomas on the way to an eventual Collected Poems. Each member of the session will be provided in advance with a PDF of the poems of Lorenzo Thomas, which will be the basis of our discussions. There will be short video and audio recordings of Thomas to share, and a bit of more formal presentation, then we will dig into the poems together. The discussions will range from Thomas’s earliest works, composed in New York in the 1960s (many during his years as part of the Society of Umbra) through to the collection published shortly before his untimely death in 2005. We will consider the aesthetic and poetic affiliations of Thomas’s work moving through Umbra to the Black Arts and beyond, and discuss his continuing relevance for poets and readers today.

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A.L. Nielsen

A.L. Nielsen is the Kelly Professor of American Literature at Penn State University. His most recent books of poetry are A Brand New Beggar and Tray. He is the author of critical works including Black Chant and Integral Music.