Phone: 612-624-5551
24-hr number: 612-293-0831

Advanced Search

Media Advisory.

Media Advisory

Acclaimed African American poets to headline seventh annual NOMMO authors series at University of Minnesota

What: Seventh Annual NOMMO African American Authors Series
Who: Poets Patricia Smith, Gary Jackson and Yusef Komunyakaa
When: Wednesday, Nov. 3, (Patricia Smith); Thursday, Feb. 24, (Gary Jackson and Yusef Komunyakaa). All events begin at 7 p.m.
Where: Cowles Auditorium, Hubert H. Humphrey Center, University of Minnesota West Bank campus, 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis
Tickets: $15 per event; $25 for the two-event series. Complimentary tickets available to U of M students and Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Call (612) 624-2345 or visit

Contacts: Marlo Welshons, University of Minnesota Libraries,, (612) 625-9148
Preston Smith, University News Service,, (612) 624-5551

October 18, 2010

Three widely acclaimed contemporary African American writers have been selected for this year's NOMMO African American Authors series, co-sponsored by the Givens Foundation for African American Literature and the Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Patricia Smith, Gary Jackson, and Yusef Komunyakaa will read from and discuss their work with host Alexs Pate, U of M professor and author of the novel "Amistad" on Wednesday, Nov. 3, (Patricia Smith) and Thursday, Feb. 24, (Gary Jackson and Yusef Komunyakaa) at 7 p.m. in Cowles Auditorium, Hubert H. Humphrey Center, 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis, on the University’s West Bank campus.

About Patricia Smith

Lauded by critics as “a testament to the power of words to change lives,” Smith is the author of five acclaimed poetry volumes. "Blood Dazzler," which chronicles the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award. Smith’s work has been published in "Poetry," "The Paris Review," "TriQuarterly" and other literary journals/anthologies, and performed around the world. A four-time individual champion in the National Poetry Slam — the most successful slammer in the competition’s history — Smith has also been a featured poet on HBO’s "Def Poetry Jam" and has performed three one-woman plays, one produced by Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott. Smith teaches in the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine and is a professor of creative writing at the City University of New York/College of Staten Island.

About Gary Jackson and Yusef Komunyakaa

Winner of the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize for his manuscript "Missing you, Metropolis," Jackson was born and raised in Topeka, Kan. He received his MFA in Poetry from the University of New Mexico in 2008 and his poems have appeared in "Inscape," "Magma," "The Literary Bohemian" and local chapbooks. Published by Greywolf Press, "Missing you, Metropolis" is lauded by critics such as Yusef Komunyakaa, who writes that the book “embodies and underscores a voice uniquely shaped and tuned for the 21st century.” Jackson currently teaches English as a Second Language in Seoul, South Korea.

Komunyakaa is the critically acclaimed author of 14 books of poetry, including "Copacetic" and "Neon Vernacular: New & Selected Poems 1977–1989," for which he received the Pulitzer Prize. His latest book of poems, "Warhorses," was published in 2008. His prose is collected in "Blues Notes: Essays, Interviews & Commentaries," and he co-edited "The Jazz Poetry Anthology." In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, his honors include the 2004 Shelley Memorial Award, the 2001 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Hanes Poetry Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He is professor and Distinguished Senior Poet at New York University.

About the NOMMO African American Authors series

Presented annually since 2004 by the Givens Foundation for African American Literature, the series provides rare opportunities to publicly define the state of the art of African American literature and to locate the work and contributions of national as well as Twin Cities African American writers within the present authoring of our literary tradition.

A Dogon word meaning "the magic power of the word," NOMMO has been co-sponsored since 2007 by the Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Additional sponsors this year are the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center and Cave Canem.

Tags: Libraries

Share This Story