Events | 4 November 2020

Award-winning poet Morgan Parker to read at 11th annual Morton Marcus memorial event

By for UCSC News


Award-winning poet, essayist, and novelist Morgan Parker will be the featured guest at the 11th annual Morton Marcus Memorial Poetry Reading, which takes place this year as a virtual event on November 12. 

Parker’s poetry has been described as visceral, provocative, audacious and essential. Exploring issues of contemporary black womanhood, pop culture, and personal history, her poetry collections include There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé (2017), Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night (2015), and her latest, Magical Negro (2019).

Praised as “a riveting testimony to everyday blackness” by TIME magazine, Magical Negro was the winner of both a National Book Critics Circle Poetry Award and the California Book Award. 

Parker’s poetry and essays have been published and anthologized in numerous publications, including the Paris Review; The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop; Best American Poetry 2016; the New York Times; and the Nation. 

She is the recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, winner of a 2016 Pushcart Prize, and has been hailed by The New York Times as “a dynamic craftsperson” of “considerable consequence to American poetry.” 

A member of The Other Black Girl Collective, a Brooklyn-based black feminist duo with Angel Nafis, Parker is also the creator and host of the live talk show Reparations, Live! at the Ace Hotel in New York, and co-curator of the Poets with Attitude (PWA) reading series. 

She is additionally the author of the young adult novel, Who Put This Song On?, which is partly based on her own teenage life and diaries. And her debut book of nonfiction is forthcoming in 2022 from One World, a newly launched imprint of Random House.

The Morton Marcus Memorial Poetry Reading is held each year to honor poet, teacher, film critic, and Santa Cruz cultural icon Morton Marcus (1936-2009). It was created to continue Marcus’s tradition of bringing acclaimed poets to Santa Cruz County, to acknowledge the significant role poetry has played in the community’s history, and to help preserve poetry’s influence in the county’s culture.

This community event is presented by the The Humanities Institute and co-sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz, the Cabrillo College English Department, Cowell College, the Living Writers Series, Ow Family Properties, Poetry Santa Cruz, the Porter Hitchcock Modern Poetry Fund, and Porter College.

The program will be hosted by UC Santa Cruz humanities lecturer and alumnus Gary Young–Santa Cruz’s first ever poet laureate—who will present a $1,000 cash prize to the winner of the annual Morton Marcus Poetry Contest.

The Morton Marcus Poetry Archive can also be found on campus at the University Library’s Special Collections. It includes Marcus’s personal papers, manuscripts, and recordings from his life as a poet and educator, as well as his collection of poetry books, broadsides, literary magazines, and correspondence with other poets and writers, all a testament to his passion for the literary art of poetry.

Admission to this online event is free and open to the public with registration.

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