This year's inaugural event in Fordham’s poetry reading series, Poets Out Loud, features a poet with many connections to our university. Melissa Castillo-Garsow received her M.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from Fordham. She was a graduate assistant for the American Studies Program and also holds an Advanced Certificate from LALSI, the Latin American and Latino Studies Institute. And a further connection: her publications include a novel co-authored with Fordham University African and African American Studies Professor Mark Naison. On the occasion of that novel's publication, English Connect interviewed Castillo-Garsow.
In accepting the invitation, she let us know how pleased she is to be returning to Fordham for this reading—a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, she is currently living in the Boston area--, and we are very pleased to welcome her back.
Castillo-Garsow's engagement with issues of immigration and Mexican culture runs throughout both her poems and the dissertation she wrote at Yale, entitled “A Mexican State of Mind: New York City and the New Borderlands of Culture.” And much of her work engages with connections between African-American and borderlands studies. Writing about her poetry, recently published in Coatlicue Eats the Apple, the distinguished Latino poet Willie Perdomo (himself a former Fordham faculty member), observes that it “subvert[s] sacred symbols with angsty, humorous rebellion.” Both thatpowerful poetry and her wide ranging publications in other fields—they include co-editing (with Jason Nichols) La Verdad: An International Dialogue on Hip Hop Latinidades, and editing ¡Manteca!: An Anthology of Afro-Latino Poetry--demonstrate why we are proud to include her in our first reading.
This reading also includes another impressive poet and fiction writer, Donna Masini, who teaches at Hunter College. Her third book of poems, 4:30 Movie, is forthcoming; she is also the author of two other collections of poetry, entitled Turning to Fiction and That Kind of Danger, and of the novel, About Yvonne.
This event will take place at our Lincoln Center campus, 12th floor lounge, on September 25 between 7 and 8:15 PM . Like all the readings in Poets Out Loud, this is free and open to the public. Refreshments are served, and all audience members have the opportunity to win a free inscribed book by one of the poets.