2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

June Jordan

April 23-24, 2001

Bio

June Jordan June Jordan is Professor of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where she also directs the POETRY FOR THE PEOPLE program, which she founded. She has published many volumes of poetry and political essays, including CIVIL WARS, TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES, NAMING OUR KISSING GOD GOOD-BYE. In her book of political essays, AFFIRMATIVE ACTS, she writes with lyric power, often in anger or disconsolateness (or both), of the dismantling of affirmative action, on real as opposed to imagined cultural pluralism, on bisexuality - ruminating on the combustible intersections of race, class, sexual choice, and injustice, reflecting on the palpable hatred that infuses American society, speaking out against worldwide suffering. Her essay and poems present the "intimate face of universal struggle," in her phrase. Her recently published memoir, SOLDIER, lovingly and angrily depicts her brutal father, a West Indian elevator operator who wanted his only child to be extraordinarily successful--to attain the dignity and power allowed only to white men at the time. To advance this ambition, he repeatedly challenged the young June physically, psychologically, and intellectually. The memoir ends as June is 12, offered admission, and a full scholarship, to the prestigious (all-white) Northfield Academy. "I knew if I said, 'No, thank you,' my father would kill me... And I wondered if I was about to become a first." In SOLDIER we encounter the making of the lyricism and the musicality, as well as the strength and outrage, that characterizes the poet whose widely discussed, widely anthologized poems we have come to know.

Photos from Jordan's visit