Poetry writer to visit campus

the new blackEvie Shockley will be visiting the DMACC Ankeny campus to read her poetry at the Celebration of Literary Arts event April 9th.
Evie started writing at an earlier age.
“ I was one of those kids who was reading and writing since before I can remember, which means before I was 5 years old.  As a child, I mostly wrote stories and songs.  I took an after-school class in poetry-writing when I was in junior high, but didn’t really start writing poetry seriously until I was in college,”  Shockley said,  “Even then, I wasn’t writing with the idea of a ‘career’ in poetry — by which I mean an intent to grow as an artist and share my work widely.  That came later.”
However for her life wasn’t always what it worked out to be.
“ If you had asked me in college if I thought my work would have a national readership someday, I would have probably stared at you like you were speaking a language I don’t know,” Shockley said.
Shockley studied at Northwestern University where she received her B.A. degree, and she went on to earn her Ph.D. in English Literature from Duke University. She currently teaching African American literature and Creative Writing  at Rutgers University.
“My favorite thing about writing is making something new out of language.  If I can get language to do something I want it to do — rather than being forced to limit my use of it to its functions in the corporate economy, in the government, in advertising — then I feel like celebrating a little!” Shockley said.
She is the author of the books, “the new black” and “a half-red sea”. She has also published poems recently on a couple of online journals: “Waxwing” and “The Account”.
Her book, “the new black”  won the 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry. As a poet, she has received awards like the 2012 Holmes National Poetry Prize.
Her book, according to the Wesleyan University Press, integrates ideas about ‘blackness’ in the past and present through the verses of the poems in the book.
She has some advice for student writers though who are interested in writing poetry or currently write poetry.
“The best advice I have received — and can give — about writing is to read.  Read lots and lots of the genre of writing you are working at doing.  I think this is especially true of poetry, which comes in so many forms and styles.  The more poetry you read, the more you understand what has been done, what is currently being done, and what it might be possible to do,” Shockley said.
She also invites students to take a look at the Poetry Foundation website or the Academy of American Poets to take a look at her poetry.
She will be reading from her poetry on the DMACC Ankeny Campus in Building 2, Room 25 A and B from 10 a.m. to noon. The event is free to DMACC students, faculty and staff.

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