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May 18, 2021

Berry hosts a Georgia poetry circuit poet reading

Berry College recently hosted a virtual event featuring a nationally recognized poet from the Georgia Poetry Circuit.


Tiana Clark, acclaimed author of two poetry collections, read and discussed work from her books, “I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood” and “Equilibrium.”


Clark is one of the three poets Berry hosted as part of the Georgia Poetry Circuit, a consortium of 10 Georgia colleges and universities working together to bring three nationally and internationally recognized poets to each member’s campus every year.


In “I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood,” Clark explores personal and public histories around lynching, using memories and muses around race, elegy, family and faith. In “Equilibrium,” Clark uses personal history and experiences of being black and female in America to discuss topics of geography, food, religion and more.


“Tiana's poetry is remarkable for how it confronts personal pain and societal injustice in gorgeous and evocative language,” Berry English Professor Sandra Meek said.


Clark’s selections included poems about Nina Simone, Rihanna and Kanye West. Throughout the reading, she discussed the context of each of these poems, as well as her journey to becoming a poet. Clark shared that it is the poet’s job to write about the times, the current social and political context we are all living in. She sees her role as a poet as representative of the black women poets that came before her.


“I carry the voices of all black women writers with me as I go on my journey,” Clark said.


Clark’s work has been featured and is forthcoming in The New Yorker, Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, New England Review and more. She is the winner of a 2019 Pushcart Prize, the 2017 Furious Flower’s Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize, the 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize and more. She was the recipient of the 2017-2018 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellowship at the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing. She is a professor of creative writing at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.


For more information on Berry’s Department of English, visit


By Public Relations Student Assistant Hannah Grace Mann

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