AMHERST, Mass.— The University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA for Poets and Writers presents a reading by Shayla Lawson on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. in Old Chapel. The reading will be followed by a book signing and refreshments.
Lawson is the author of “A Speed Education in Human Being,” the chapbook “Pantone,” and “I Think I'm Ready to See Frank Ocean” and the forthcoming essay collection “This is Major.” Ross Gay, poet and professor at Indiana University, says of Lawson’s “I Think I’m Ready to See Frank Ocean,” “I cannot get to the bottom of the brilliance behind it, or the brilliance that brilliance makes.”
Lawson is also co-curator of “The Tenderness Project” with Ross Gay. “The Tenderness Project” is full of writing, music, images with different textures, different rhythms, from different kinds of people, all in the name of tenderness.
Lawson is a member of the Affrilachian Poets, which reveals relationships that link identity to familial roots, socio-economic stratification and cultural influence and an inherent connection to the land. The term "Affrilachia" was originally coined by Frank X Walker in reference to the region of Appalachia, a mountain range stretching over thirteen states along the East Coast of the U.S. Affrilachia embraces a multicultural influence, a spectrum of people who consider Appalachia home and/or identify strongly with the trials and triumphs of being of this region.
A MacDowell and Yaddo Artist Colony Fellow, Lawson currently serves as writer-in-residence at Amherst College and is a visiting professor in UMass Amherst’s MFA for Poets and Writers.
Celebrating its fifty-sixth year, the Visiting Writers Series at UMass Amherst presents emerging and established writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.
The Series is sponsored by the MFA for Poets and Writers and the Juniper Initiative and made possible by support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the University of Massachusetts Arts Council, the English department, the Massachusetts Review and others.
All events are free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. More information on the event is available on Facebook.