Poet Aracelis Girmay to Read at Smith College
High School Prize-Winners to Join Her On Stage
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.— Smith College will present a reading by poet Aracelis Girmay at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, in Neilson Library Browsing Room. The event, which will also include a short presentation by winners of this year’s Smith College Poetry Prize for High School Girls in New England, is free and open to the public.
Girmay’s impressive debut collection, “Teeth,” published in 2007, drew from her various cultural lineages—Eritrean, Puerto Rican, African American—weaving them into a distinct voice that Latino Poet Martín Espada called “brave, lyrical, fiery, joyful.”
Her second volume, “Kingdom Animalia,” won the Isabella Gardner Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle, which dubbed her “an American original.”
Born and raised in southern California, Girmay earned her master of fine arts degree from New York University. She is a contributing editor of The Massachusetts Review and is on the faculty of Hampshire College and the low-residency MFA program at Drew University.
Girmay served as the judge of the seventh annual Smith College Poetry Prize for High School Girls in New England. She chose as the winner Helena Ainsworth, who attends Newburyport High School in Newburyport, Mass., and three finalists: Annalise Cain of Ashfield and Deja Carr of Hadley, both of whom attend the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School, and Nadia Gribkova of Moscow, who attends the Westover School in Middlebury, Conn. The student poets will present their winning poems at the start of Girmay’s reading.
The reading is supported by the Program for the Study of Women and Gender and will be followed by a book sale and signing. For further information, contact Jennifer Blackburn in the Poetry Center office at (413) 585-4891. For disability access information or to request accommodations, call (413) 585-2407. To request a sign language interpreter specifically, call (413) 585-2071 (voice or TTY) or e-mail ODS@smith.edu. All requests must be made at least 10 days prior to the event.