University of Minnesota
literacy & rhetorical studies
center for writing

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spiral staircaseSpeaker Series

The interdisciplinary graduate minor in Literacy and Rhetorical Studies sponsors a Speaker Series to engage the University community in rich discussions about the uses of language, reading, and writing. Please see the Past Speaker Series page for earlier presentations.


2018 Speaker Series

The LRS Graduate Minor is pleased to be a co-sponsor for an event this fall:

BreakOut: Voices from the Inside

with various speakers, presented by PEN America, Poetry Asylum, and the Weisman Art Museum

Sunday, September 9, 2018
12:00–4:00 pm
Weisman Art Museum
free to the public

The following description is from the event webpage:

Minneapolis-based Poetry Asylum and the Weisman Art Museum (WAM) are teaming up with PEN America to present BreakOut: Voices From the Inside as part of a nationwide activation in commemoration of the 1971 Attica prison uprising––honoring the struggle for free expression in prison, and underscoring the importance of writing as an act of creative resistance and triumph.

In concert with artist Daniel McCarthy-Clifford’s “Section of Disapproved Books” project at WAM, Poetry Asylum is teaming up with PEN America and WAM to host a three-pronged event bringing marginalized voices affected personally and/or culturally by mass incarceration, activists, and scholars into the historically white space of an art museum. This event seeks to disrupt traditional privileged contexts while generating critical dialogue around futurism, abolition, and art as catalyst to healing, justice, and peace.

Two panels will feature ten distinguished local members of All Square, MN Prison Doula Project, MN Prison Writing Workshop, unPrison Project, Voices for Racial Justice, and We Are All Criminals among others––in open conversation, moderated by Sun Yung Shin and Michael Kleber-Diggs. Then a special pre-release screening of “Cell Watch: Strip Cell,” (Motionpoem by filmmaker Jane Morledge and poet Susannah Nevison) will be capped off with the PEN Prison & Justice Program’s poetry reading from six notable poets to celebrate and amplify the voices of incarcerated writers by connecting their work with the public.

Free to the public but seats may be limited, so please plan accordingly. Light refreshments will be served in the Riverview Gallery during intermissions. Green light rail line at the University of Minnesota East Bank stop, other public transportation, and parking garage options available. Museum hours are 11am to 5pm on Sunday. Accessible and open to everyone––all are welcome. #nooneisillegal


11:00 am: Museum opens
12:00-1:00 pm: First Panel
1:30-2:30 pm: Second Panel
3:00 pm: Screening of “Cell Watch: Strip Cell”
3:15-4:15 pm: PEN BreakOut: Voices From the Inside Poetry Reading
5:00 pm: Museum closes

12:00-1:00 pm FIRST PANEL: “Futurism + Abolition”

Moderated by Sun Yung Shin

1. Emily Baxter
2. Jeremiah Ellison
3. Leiloni Ivey
4. Dr. Rebecca Shlafer
5. Emily Hunt Turner 

1:30-2:30 pm SECOND PANEL: “Art as Healing, Justice, and Peace”

Moderated by Michael Kleber-Diggs

1. Jennifer Bowen Hicks 
2. Danny McCarthy-Clifford
3. Deborah Jiang-Stein 
4. Vina Kay
5. Marcie Rendon

3:00-3:15 pm Screening of PEN video + Motionpoem “Cell Watch: Strip Cell” by Jane Morledge (filmmaker) + Susannah Nevison (poet)

3:15-4:15 pm PEN BreakOut: Voices From the Inside Poetry Reading

Hosted by Su Hwang

1. Queen Frye
2. David Lawrence Grant
3. Leiloni Ivey
4. Ed Bok Lee
5. Matt Rasmussen
6. Hawona Sullivan Janzen


For other literacy- and rhetorical studies-related events at the University of Minnesota and locally, check out these websites:

Immigration History Research Center events (College of Liberal Arts)

Thursdays at Four (Institute for Advanced Study)

Events (School of Law)

Events (University Libraries)