Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass hosts ‘Thinking Lucille Clifton Thinking’ with Kevin Quashie

The event was the first trans/queer colloquium of the semester
Shilpa Sweth
Daily Collegian (2023)

On Thursday, Feb. 22, Kevin Quashie, professor of English at Brown University delivered a colloquium titled “Thinking Lucille Clifton Thinking” at the University of Massachusetts.

Lucille Clifton was an American poet, writer and educator who was awarded the National Book Award for Poetry in 2000. Her work is known for its unique structure and contribution to Black feminist criticism.

At Brown University, Quashie teaches Black cultural and literary studies. He primarily focuses on Black feminism, queer studies and aesthetics, especially poetics. His talk was a literary analysis of the late poet Clifton’s work. At the back of the room, Quashie stood in front of a projector that displayed excerpts of Clifton’s poetry, with certain words highlighted in red. He began his presentation by welcoming the audience, noting that he saw many familiar faces.

Clifton’s poetry was projected, highlighted and read aloud by Quashie. He examined the working and potency of “Black sentences,” analyzing the theodicy and poetic thinking of Clifton’s work.

Quashie analyzed the meaning of her poetry, referring to Clifton’s “myth-work as thinking [of] the beginning and ending of the world.”

“She thinks [about] the making of the universe,” Quashie said.

This event was just one in a series of trans/queer colloquiums hosted by the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) department. Associate Professor of WGSS Cameron Awkward-Rich was responsible for facilitating the lecture.

“I organize this event series as a way of trying to build intellectual community among professors, but also graduate students and undergraduate students who are interested in doing queer and trans work in the valley. It’s a way of building intellectual community,” Awkward-Rich said when asked about his role in the event.

Luda Zaitsev is a sophomore studying public health and Chinese. She attended the event because of her personal interest in the topic and explained how she has found these events to be beneficial for her.

“The last event I went to last semester was given by a Professor at Smith [College] and I talked to her before the presentation, and that’s what led me to take my first Women’s Studies class at Smith,” Zaitsev said.

“I think that’s one big benefit of these talks, is just being exposed to different thinkers from different schools, and sometimes you get lucky and there’s a local professor, which is really awesome.”

The colloquium started at 6:30 p.m. in the top corner of South College and ended around 8:00 pm. When the talk was completed, people lingered, waiting to have a turn speaking to Quashie.

Quashie said he was “thrilled” to be back around people, UMass and the company of the audience and community.

The next event in the trans/queer colloquium of the WGSS Department has not been posted on their website yet but was said to be sometime in the spring.

Charlotte Ribe can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *