Pledges, Anthems, and Acts: American Violence and Poetic (Re)Imagination

Pledges, Anthems, and Acts: American Violence and Poetic (Re)Imagination

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In 2016, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem in protest of state-sanctioned anti-black violence. The national controversy that followed speaks to the power invested in texts of American national identity (e.g. The Star-Spangled Banner, The Pledge of Allegiance, etc.). Like Kaepernick, poets such as Ross Gay, Safia Elhillo, Evie Shockley, and Ocean Vuong have intervened in texts of American nationalism and spoken back powerfully to American violence. In this workshop, we will engage their work and write our own as we explore the possibilities of poetry to riff on, revise, and reimagine forms of public speech.


  • Instructor: Claire Schwartz
  • Length of workshop: 3 hours
  • Date: Sun., Mar. 25
  • Time: 2 - 5 p.m.
  • Location: Refinery Nashville
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About the Instructor:

Claire Schwartz is the author of bound, selected by Aziza Barnes as a winner of the 2016 Button Poetry Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Apogee, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Massachusetts Review, and Prairie Schooner, and her essays, reviews, and interviews in The Iowa Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. Claire is a PhD candidate in African American Studies and American Studies at Yale.