Award-Winning Poet Jonah Mixon-Webster to Visit Campus
Feb. 1, 2023
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Through the invitation of a student, poet and conceptual sound artist Jonah Mixon-Webster will visit Illinois Wesleyan University on Wednesday, Feb. 8. He is the author of “Stereo(TYPE),” a collection of poems that explore his identity as a Black man, a queer individual and a resident of Flint, Michigan.
The collection received the PEN America/Joyce Osterweil Award and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. Mixon-Webster’s work has been featured in various publications including Harper’s, The Yale Review and Best American Experimental Writing. A selection of his works can be found on his website .
Mixon-Webster received his Ph.D. in creative writing from Illinois State University and is currently the inaugural Mellon Arts Postdoctoral Fellow in African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University.
The idea to invite Mixon-Webster to IWU’s campus was proposed by English writing and environmental studies student Emile Ottinger '23, who was drawn to the poet’s work about the Flint water crisis.
“As a survivor and a social advocate, Mixon-Webster commits to the experiences of the survivors and their communities first — and without ever deluding us into thinking that we who weren't actually there have any direct claim to the suffering. Mixon-Webster's work is effectively brutal on the senses — there's the terror of being deprived the most life-giving and taken-for-granted of resources...and of seeing your city authorities act calmly about it,” Ottinger said of Mixon-Webster’s work.
For those interested in learning more about Mixon-Webster’s writing process and social and political engagement, a craft talk with the poet will be held on campus at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8, in State Farm Hall Room 203. Lunch will be provided and space is limited to 20 people. Those interested should email Joanne Diaz at email@example.com by Feb. 6.
Then at 7 p.m., Mixon-Webster will give a poetry reading in the Beckman Auditorium on the lower level of The Ames Library. Copies of his debut poetry collection, “Stereo(TYPE)” will be available for purchase. This event is free and open to the public.
This event is sponsored by English honor society Sigma Tau Delta, Tributaries, IWU Pride, Lyrical Graffiti, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the English Department.
By Maria Harmon '23