Note to editors and reporters: To arrange an interview with Lemn Sissay or to attend the reading or workshops, please contact the Cal State L.A. Public Affairs office at (323) 343-3050 in advance.
In residence with resonance
Los Angeles, CA – Poet, playwright and performer Lemn Sissay—this year’s British Council USA UK Writer-in-Residence at California State University, Los Angeles—presents a free public poetry reading, “Tender Fingers in a Clenched Fist: An Evening of Poems with Lemn Sissay,” Wednesday, Jan. 30, 6:30 p.m., at the Music Hall on the Cal State L.A. campus. He will introduce new poems from his forthcoming book, Listener, to be published by UK Canongate Books.
Sissay has been described as “taking poetry off the page and into the public arena” by putting poetry with music, in plays, through documentary and upon public art.
Sissay is the author of four poetry collections: Tender Fingers in a Clenched Fist (1988); Rebel Without Applause (1992); Morning Breaks in the Elevator (1999) and The Emperor’s Watchmaker (2000). He is also the editor of The Fire People: A Collection of Contemporary Black British Poets (1998), and his work has appeared in many anthologies. He is a regular contributor to Poetry Review and has judged various writers competitions, such as The Arvon Poetry Prize and The John Lewellyn Literature prize.
His stage plays are Chaos By Design (1994), Storm (2003), and Something Dark (2006). Something Dark was adapted for Radio Three and won the RIMA award in 2006. He is commissioned to write the adaptation of Benjamin Zephaniah’s book Refugee Boy for The West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2008. A new poem will be unveiled inlaid in sculpture in The City of London in 2008. He contributes to BBC Radio Four’s Saturday Live and lives in East London.
An artist-in-residence at The South Bank Centre throughout 2007 and 2008, Sissay’s patrons include The Queen of England. He has been writer-in-residence at The Cambridge Literature festival, The Belfast Literature Festival, Arizona State University and Contact Theatre Manchester.
For more about Sissay, visit his website at www.lemnsissay.com
Additionally, Sissay will present two creative writing workshops to Cal State L.A. students and faculty members. They will be held Tuesdays, Jan. 15 and Jan. 29, from 3:15-4:15 p.m., in the English Department Seminar Room (E&T 631).
As part of his residency, Sissay will also enlighten students from Chester W. Nimitz Middle School, Schurr High School and Miguel Contreras Learning Complex—who are engaged in poetry partnerships with Cal State L.A. through the University’s Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics.
Cal State L.A. was selected as the site of the first British Council USA UK Writer-in-Residence program in the West in 2005. This residency is also cosponsored by Cal State L.A.’s Poetry Center, Department of English, and College of Arts and Letters.
For more about the British Council USA UK Writer-in-Residence program at Cal State L.A., call the CSULA Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics at (323) 343-4165 or go to www.britishcouncil.org/usa-arts-literature-uk-writer-in-residence-program.htm
What: Poetry reading by Lemn Sissay, Cal State L.A.’s 2008 British Council USA UK Writer-in-Residence. A book signing will follow immediately after the reading. Free to the public.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Music Hall on the Cal State L.A. campus. (For campus map or directions, go to www.calstatela.edu/univ/maps/cslamap.htm) Permit parking at Lots 5 and 7 or Parking Structure C.
More: Sissay will present two creative writing workshops to Cal State L.A. students and faculty members. They are scheduled for Tuesdays, Jan. 15 and Jan. 29, from 3:15-4:15 p.m., in the English Department Seminar Room (E&T 631).
Info: Call Cal State L.A.’s Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics at (323) 343-4165.
Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 200,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center. www.calstatela.edu