Susan Briante and Rachel Levitsky

The Roxy Gordon Members Salon Series
When: Thursday April 28th, 2011

WordSpace is proud to partner with Greenhill School and Farid Matuk in sharing our Members Salon selections with their classrooms.

This Salon will also include a special Memorial Tribute to Akilah Oliver, originally scheduled to participate. She passed away in February 2011.

Susan Briante is the author of Pioneers in the Study of Motion (Ahsahta Press 2007) and Utopia Minus (Ahsahta Press 2011). Recent poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Court Green, and POOL. A translator and essayist, Briante lived in Mexico City from 1991-1997 working for the magazines Artes de Mexico and Mandorla. She has received awards from the Atlantic Monthly, MacDowell Colony, The Academy of American Poets, & the Djerassi Foundation. Currently, she is translating the work of Uruguayan writer Marosa di Giorgio, as well as writing about industrial ruins and abandoned buildings in American cities. Briante holds an MFA from Florida International University and a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. She is an assistant professor of literature and creative writing at the University of Texas at Dallas. Susan is a former WordSpace Board Member and continues to serve on the Programming Committee.

Rachel Levitsky’s second poetry collection NEIGHBOR was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2009. Her first novel, The Story of My Accident is Ours will be published by Futurepoem in 2011. Levitsky teaches Writing and Literature at Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program, Bard Prison Initiative and Pratt Institute. She is founder and member of Belladonna* Collaborative–a hub of feminist avant-garde literary action.

Akilah Oliver was the author of two poetry collections and four chapbooks. Her most recent book, A Toast in the House of Friends, (Coffee House Press 2009) incorporates prose, theory, and lyric performance to investigate body and memory through experimental forms and multiple frameworks,
Oliver’s writing practice embraces an investigative poetics approach as a dialogic engagement, as a practice of unveiling, and positing new ideas, lines, and ways of seeing. Her recent collaborative performance work investigated elegy as public ritual.
Her first book, the she said dialogues: flesh memory (Smokeproof/Erudite Fangs, 1999),
was awarded the PEN Beyond Margins Award.
Her chapbooks include “A Collection of Objects” (Tente Press, 2010), “a(A)ugust” (Yo-Yo Labs, 2007), and “The Putterer’s Notebook” (Belladonna, 2006).
She is featured on the CD Matching Half with Anne Waldman and Ambrose Bye (Fast Speaking Music, 2009). Oliver’s critical writing on Anne Waldman’s work can be found online at Jacket 27, Hold the Space: The Poetics of Anne Waldman. Oliver has delivered talks on Waldman’s work, and on elegy and memoir at the Associated Writer’s Program (AWP) in Chicago, at the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Oliver read and performed her poetry extensively, as a solo reader and in collaboration with musicians.
She was co-founder of the critically acclaimed performance group the Sacred Naked Nature Girls (SNNG), Oliver toured with SNNG performing extensively, including at the Institute for Contemporary Art in London, Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, and Randolph Street in Chicago. SNNG’s work has been reviewed in the Los Angeles Times (1996), Bomb Magazine (Coco Fusco, Summer ’95), Drama Review (Meiling Cheng, Summer ’98), and in the book, “In Other Los Angeleses: Mulitcentric Performance Work”, by Meiling Cheng (2002, California Press).
Oliver received her BA from New College of California, has taught writing at the University of Colorado, Boulder; Department of Writing and Poetics at Naropa University, Long Island University (as the Distinguished Author, MFA Creative Writing Program), LaGuardia Community College, and was on the faculty of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics/Naropa Summer Writing Program (SWP) at Naropa University and Pratt Art Institute, Humanities and Media Studies.
She was awarded an artist-in-residency at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, is the recipient of grants from the California Arts Council, The Flintridge Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. She lived in Brooklyn, NY.

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