“White Room”

“We are, thus, insistent on something structural: at most of the readings we attend, the room is mainly white. This is true even when the readers do not identify as white. This is true even when the readings happen in urban areas with an other-than-white majority. We’re also fairly confident the mainly white room defines most of the readings we didn’t attend, that it defines any number of different ‘schools’ of writing, from anything that might possibly call itself experimental to anything that might call itself lyric. From Vanessa Place to Tony Hoagland, a mainly white room. From Brown University to University of Iowa to Holy Names University, a mainly white room. From the 92nd Street Y to the St. Mark’s Poetry Project to the Omni Commons, a mainly white room.” — Juliana Spahr & Stephanie Young, “The Program Era and the Mainly White Room”

The reasons for this are what this discussion attempts to understand. In response to the findings of Spahr and Young, we’ll grapple with audience, in writing, to put forth some proposals. With Mahogany L. Browne, Cheryl Clarke, Ariel Goldberg, and Christopher Stackhouse, and contributions from Rachel Levitsky and Krystal Languell.

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