Poet Chet'la Sebree to be featured in the Mary E. Rolling Reading Series Feb. 13

Anushka Shah
January 28, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Known for poems that refuse to fall into specific spaces of time or genre, poet Chet’la Sebree will offer a reading as part of the Mary E. Rolling Reading Series. The free public reading will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, in Paterno Library’s Foster Auditorium.

Sebree has received fellowships from the Delaware Division of Arts, The MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Yaddo, the Stadler Center, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies. She is the 2018 co-recipient of Yaddo’s National Endowment of the Arts Residency for Collaborative Teams with poet and writer Shayla Lawson. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Kenyon Review, Colorado Review, Pleiades, Wilderness, Guernica, Poetry International, and The Account, along with many other publications.

Cover of book 'Mistress'

Chet’la Sebree is the author of the poetry collection "Mistress," published in October 2019, which won the 2018 New Issues Poetry Prize and was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry. In "Mistress," Sebree inhabits the interior life and voice of Sally Hemings, a woman of mixed race who was a slave at Monticello and had several children with U.S. president Thomas Jefferson.

IMAGE: Provided

Chet’la Sebree is the author of the poetry collection "Mistress," published in October 2019, which won the 2018 New Issues Poetry Prize and was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry. In "Mistress," Sebree inhabits the interior life and voice of Sally Hemings, a woman of mixed race who was a slave at Monticello and had several children with U.S. president Thomas Jefferson. Cathy Park Hong, judge of the 2018 New Issues Poetry Prize, described Sebree’s debut collection as work that faces “the dark looming historical forces of miscegenation, enslavement, and the abjection of the black female body,” and her language as a “scythe that glints wildly.” Poet and Penn State English professor Shara McCallum lauded "Mistress" for “restoring history, teaching us how to ‘bear this legacy.’”

Sebree’s current projects include a book-length hybrid titled "Field Study," to be released in 2021, which is funded by the Delaware Division of Arts. Sebree received her master of fine arts in creative writing from American University. She is currently an assistant professor of English and the director of the Stadler Center for Poetry and Literary Arts at Bucknell University.

The Mary E. Rolling Series is a program offered by Penn State’s Creative Writing Program in English, which receives generous support from the College of the Liberal Arts; the Department of English; the Joseph L. Grucci Poetry Endowment; the Mary E. Rolling Lectureship in Creative Writing; and University Libraries. The full list of readings in the 2019-20 series can be found online.

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Last Updated January 31, 2020