As part of the new Gwendolyn Brooks Social Justice Initiative, the Creative Writing program in the Department of English is bringing in Roger Reeves along with local poet Ja Nelle Davenport-Pleasure for a reading of creative work.
Roger Reeves's poems have appeared in journals such as Poetry, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, and Tin House, among others. Kim Addonizio selected “Kletic of Walt Whitman” for the Best New Poets 2009 anthology. He was awarded a 2013 NEA Fellowship, Ruth Lilly Fellowship by the Poetry Foundation in 2008, two Bread Loaf Scholarships, an Alberta H. Walker Scholarship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and two Cave Canem Fellowships. He earned his PhD at the University of Texas-Austin and is currently an assistant professor of poetry at the University of Illinois, Chicago. His first book is King Me (Copper Canyon Press, 2013).
Ja Nelle Davenport-Pleasure was born in Springfield, Illinois, and came from a military family. She joined the Urbana-Champaign community 24 years ago where she raised her three amazing kids, Aria, Ian, and Joshua. She currently works for the University of Illinois as an IT specialist for the College of ACES. She has written two books of poetry, a chapbook titled Eyes Open and her second Splitting 650.