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Tragic Cities: Past, Poetry, and Futures: Home


Please join us for a series of conversations on history, racism, and memory with Clemonce Heard on April 21 & April 22.

April 21, 2022

Speaking History with Clemonce Heard, with Dr. Le’Trice Donaldson
12:30pm-1:45pm  UC Anchor 147 AB – open to all students

Click here for Zoom link.

Salon: A Reading and A Conversation with Clemonce Heard
6:00pm-8:30pm UC Tejas Lounge 106 – open to all
Click here for Zoom link.

April 22, 2022

Fictions of History on Screen: Watchmen
2:00pm-3:30pm BH 103 – open to all

Click here for Zoom link.

This event is sponsored by the Departments of Humanities & English. For details, please contact:
James Jones ( or Dr. Sandrine Sanos (

Clemonce Heard

Tragic Cities: Past, Poetry, and Futures

Tragic Cities: Past, Poetry, and Futures

How does one attend to the violence of the past, its racism, and its tragedies? How does one give names to make sense of unnameable violence? Who gets to inhabit this past? How do we remember those in the past and attend to their lives without making them passive objects of violence? What languages does one need to write historical prose? What can poetry create that history can not?

In his 2021 poetry collection, Tragic City, Clemonce Heard examines the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and the effects it had on the Black enclave of Greenwood, while also investigating the oppression still present during his time in the Tulsa Artist Fellowship.

As Four-time National Poetry Slam champion, author, and Guggenheim Fellow Patricia Smith wrote, “Heard urgently transports the reader into the moments of the tragedy, reviving the people and places that gave Greenwood its pulse — then moves into the disquieting present day, where the circumstances that led to that titanic loss still exist, and still resound.”

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