The poet and essayist reads from her collection "I Can't Talk About The Trees Without The Blood." Info
Editor’s note: This event has been canceled due to an illness.
Tiana Clark's poetry immerses readers in powerful images: "BBHMM" uses a blood-soaked Rihanna video to confront black exploitation, and the unwavering long-form poem "Indeed Hotter For Me Are the Joys Of The Lord" wrestles with social anxiety and confidence. Clark’s first chapbook, 2016's Equilibrium, opens with these lines: “Took me / thirty years to say / I’m glad / I don’t pass for white,” opening the floodgates of her relationship with race and self reflection. Clark’s latest collection, I Can't Talk About The Trees Without The Blood, examines every thread of America’s racist, violent history and present. Clark writes of gentrification displacing majority-black spaces, white people stealing and appropriating black culture, and how she sees the landscape of this country as an overflowing graveyard that no one wants to talk about.
Through her essay work, Clark provides more thoughtful examination of society and culture. In Buzzfeed, she pointed out that American culture tends to overlook the black experience when observing and writing on millennial burnout. For Oxford American, she wrote a heartfelt tribute to Nina Simone. In addition to garnering several poetry prizes, she has received scholarships and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Sewanee Writers' Conference, and Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. Clark was the 2017-2018 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow and teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Her talk and reading here will focus on I Can't Talk About The Trees Without The Blood. —John McCracken