The Department of English Alumni Lecture series brings in nationally prominent writers and scholars twice each year to talk about ideas and issues related to the study of English. These lectures are free and open to the public.

""Spring 2021: Saeed Jones

How We Fight for Our Lives Book Chat

When: Tuesday, March 2, 6:00 p.m. (via Zoom)

Register Here

Alumni Lecture

When: Wednesday, March 10, 5 p.m., (via Zoom)

Register Here

Saeed Jones is an essential author as well as a powerful voice in the world of literary activism, and his writing often takes on questions of identity. Formerly a major contributor at Buzzfeed, he shaped his platform into a tool for social awareness with his no-holds-barred personality.

His debut collection, Prelude to Bruise, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and was awarded the 2015 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry. The collection also received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, which described the book as, “a fever dream, something akin to magic.” His poems engage themes of intimacy, race, and power, and often incorporate elements of mythology. In a 2014 interview for PEN America, Jones stated, “I’m obsessed with manhood as a brutal and artful performance. My mind always finds its way back to the crossroad where sex, race, and power collide. Journeys, transformation as well as dashed attempts to transform, fascinate me as well.”

In 2019, Jones released his highly anticipated memoir, How We Fight for Our Lives. A review from NPR writes, “Jones’s voice and sensibility are so distinct that he turns one of the oldest of literary genres inside out and upside down.” In this memoir, Saeed has developed a one-of-a-kind style that is as beautiful as it is powerful, and he has cemented himself as an essential writer of our time. Saeed has received a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Cave Canem and Queer/Art/Mentorship.

This lecture is sponsored by the Jemison Visiting Professorship in the Humanities Endowment.