Flamingos listen to a spoken word performance.

Poetry of the Moment

December 17 - 12:00PM - 1:00PM
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This event is Central Standard Time (CST).

This program is free to attend, but registration is required. By registering, you’ll receive the event link and an email reminder to join the program. You will not need to download software to participate.

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About the event

At a time when the nation grapples with long-standing racial injustices and police brutality, two UW professors — who are also poets, a married couple, and featured in the Winter 2020 issue of On Wisconsin magazine — will read their important poetry about Black identity and the brutal realities of being Black in the U.S. They’ll then talk about the process and research behind their work. This program, moderated by freelance editor and poet Ann Shaffer MA’90, will also include a discussion and a Q & A session. Don’t miss this imperative program — sign up today.

The speakers

  • Amaud Jamaul Johnson, Halls Bascom Professor of English, UW–Madison; director, MFA Program in Creative Writing
  • Cherene Sherrard, Sally Mead Hands-Bascom Professor of English


  • Ann Shaffer ’90, writer and editor

About the speakers

Amaud Jamaul Johnson was born and raised in Compton, California, and was educated at Howard University and Cornell. He released his latest poetry collection, Imperial Liquor, this year, and his other collections include Red Summer (2006) and Darktown Follies (2013). Johnson is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford, MacDowell Colony Fellow, and Cave Canem Fellow. In addition, he has received the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the Dorset Prize, and the Pushcart Prize; and his work has been published in Best American Poetry and American Poetry Review, among others.

Cherene Sherrard, who was born in Los Angeles, earned her bachelor’s degree at UCLA and her doctorate at Cornell. Her research primarily focuses on Black female representation in mid-19th- to early 20th-century American literature and visual culture. She has authored Portraits of the New Negro Woman: Visual and Literary Culture in the Harlem Renaissance (2007) and Dorothy West’s Paradise: A Biography of Class and Color (2012). She has also published poetry collections Vixen (2017) and Grimoire (2020). Sherrard has earned many fellowships and awards, such as a Wisconsin Arts Board Grant in poetry, a National Endowment for the Humanities Award, and a 2019 Outstanding Women of Color Award.

Ann Shaffer’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Image Journal, Free State Review, and elsewhere. Her essays, reviews and stories have been published in a variety of outlets. She has written and edited many books on mathematics, computer technology, and engineering. A Madison resident, Shaffer is a proud UW–Madison alum.

This event is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Sandra G. Sponem Alumni Park Signature Program Series Fund.

Questions? Email Angeline Mboutgnam at angeline.mboutgnam@supportuw.org or call 608-308-5161.

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