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Visiting Artists Program (VAP) Resource Guides

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The Visiting Artists Program resource guides contain upcoming speakers' biographies, articles, video and audio content, related publications in the Flaxman Library, and additional online resources. These guides may be used in the classroom in preparation for the event, research, or post-lecture discussion.

Douglas Kearney: Tuesday, March 12, 6:00–7:30 p.m. CT
The Art Institute of Chicago, Fullerton Hall, 111 S. Michigan Ave.

This event will be live captioned by Communication Access Realtime Translation services.

Join us in person for a lecture by poet Douglas Kearney followed by an audience Q&A.  


Black and white portrait of Douglas Kearney.Douglas Kearney is a poet, performer, and librettist who has published seven books that bridge thematic concerns such as politics, African American culture, masks, the trickster figure, and contemporary music. Sho (Wave Books, 2021) was the winner for the 2022 Griffin Poetry Prize, the 2022 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry, and was a finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, and the Kingsley Tufts Award. Navigating the complex penetrability of language, the poems in this collection are sonic in their espousal of Black vernacular strategies, while examining histories and current events through the lyric, brand new dances, and other performances.

Most recently, Kearney is the author of Optic Subwoof (Wave Books, 2022), a collection of talks that he presented for the Bagley Wright Lecture Series in 2020 and 2021, which won the 2023 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism and was a finalist for the 2023 Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Firecracker Award for Creative Nonfiction. As kinetic on the page as they are in person, these lectures offer an urgent critique of the intersections between violence and entertainment, interrogating the ways in which poetry, humor, visual art, music, pop culture, and performance alternately uphold and subvert this violence.

Kearney is also the author of Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016), which was awarded the CLMP Firecracker Award for Poetry, the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize, and the silver medal for the California Book Award in Poetry. Kearney describes the non-traditional layout of his poems as “performative typography.” On the relationship between his poetry and politics, he notes: “For me, the political is a part of how I see the world. My art making doesn’t begin without realizing who I am and what it means for me to be writing a poem and not doing something else.” Kearney’s collection of writing on poetics and performativity, Mess and Mess and (Noemi Press, 2015), is a Small Press Distribution Handpicked selection. In it, Kearney writes, “If my writing makes a mess of things, it’s not to flee understanding, but to map (mis-)understanding as a verb.” Patter (Red Hen Press, 2014), Kearney’s third poetry collection, examines miscarriage, infertility, and parenthood. The Black Automaton (Fence Books, 2009) is a National Poetry Series selection and Someone Took They Tongues (Subito Press, 2016) collects several of Kearney’s libretti, including one written in a counterfeit Afro-diasporic language. 

Kearney has received a Whiting Award and the Cy Twombly Award for Poetry, and was named a notable New American Poet by the Poetry Society of America, He has been awarded fellowships from Cave Canem and The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. His work has appeared in a number of journals, including POETRY magazine, The Iowa Review, Boston Review, and Indiana Review, and anthologies, including Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky, Best American Poetry, Best American Experimental Writing, and What I Say: Innovative Poetry by Black Writers in America. Kearney is a McKnight Presidential Fellow and associate professor of Creative Writing/English at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. 

Image credit: Douglas Kearney.

Artist Website


Dirty Concrete Poetry and White Space: The Visual Texts of Steve McCaffery and Douglas Kearney*
Steven McCarthy | Visible Language | August 2023
*This is a library resource that requires ARTIC login

On the Similarities Between Writing and Turning Oneself Into a Werewolf
Douglas Kearney | Lit Hub | November 30, 2022

Douglas Kearney’s Poetry of Performance
Mark Scroggins | Hyperallergic | May 21, 2022

Douglas Kearney's Show of Language
Nina Raemont | Mpls St. Paul Magazine | November 15, 2021

Short Conversations with Poets: Douglas Kearney
Jesse Nathan | McSweeney’s | August 25, 2021

Two Roads: A Review-in-Dialogue of Douglas Kearney’s “Sho”
Dean Rader and Victoria Chang | Los Angeles Review of Books | August 4, 2021

Fodder: ‘A Full-On Conversation’ with Val Jeanty and Douglas Kearney
Honey Crawford | Poetry Foundation | June 14, 2021

I Killed, I Died: Banter, self-destruction, and the poetry reading
Douglas Kearney | The Yale Review | Summer 2021

Nobody Here But Us Ghosts
Joyelle McSweeney | Poetry Foundation | April 12, 2021


Episode 99: Douglas Kearney
Commonplace [Podcast] | April 6, 2022 | Please note this podcast does provide transcripts

Fodder [Audio CD]
Fonograf Editions | 2021 | JFABC, USE IN 503 ONLY: Z200.21


Book Cover

Mess and Mess and

Douglas Kearney
PS3611.E177 A6 2015

Book Cover

Fear, Some

Douglas Kearney
PS3611.E177 F427 2006

Book Cover


Douglas Kearney
PS3611.E177 P38 2014

Book Cover


Douglas Kearney
PS3611.E177 S56 2021

Book Cover

Optic Subwoof

Douglas Kearney
PS3611.E177 O68 2022

Book Cover

Buck Studies

Douglas Kearney
PS3611.E177 B83 2016

Book Cover

The Black Automaton

Douglas Kearney 
Storage - ask at front desk:
PS3611.E177 B53 2009

Book Cover

BAX 2015

Seth Abramson, Jesse Damiani , and Douglas Kearney (eds.)
PS536.3 .B39 2015

Book Cover


Jasmine McNeal & Ashon Crawley (eds.)
N6538.N5 O84 2021


Poetry Foundation: Douglas Kearney

Griffin Poetry Prize: Douglas Kearney
Selected Poems by Douglas Kearney 

Score for Crescent City: A Hyperopera in Fifteen Scenes (2006-2012)
Request from I-Share.

Sweet Land
Starting as a procession through the LA State Historic Park, Sweet Land becomes an opera that erases itself.

Visiting Artists Program Lecture Recordings from the Archive
SAIC Visiting Artists Program video and audio lecture recordings (1977–present.) Available with SAIC login credentials.

SAIC Digital Collections: Visiting Artists Program
SAIC Visiting Artists Program publicity archive and audio recordings (197798).