Robin Coste Lewis, poet and National Book Award winner, will visit the Caltech campus May 23 for a reading of her works.
Lewis, a Compton, California, native, burst onto the poetry scene in 2015 with her collection Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems, which has been described as a "meditation on cultural and artistic depictions of the black female figure that juxtaposes autobiographical verses with reflections on cultural stereotypes and art." It was for that collection that Lewis won the National Book Award for poetry, marking the first time in the award's history that it was given for a debut work by an African American poet.
Lewis has served as poet laureate for the city of Los Angeles and has also received an Academy of American Poetry Laureate Fellowship. She has taught in New York University's MFA in Paris, and is a writer in residence at USC.
Lewis's latest work, To the Realization of Perfect Helplessness, was published in 2022 and combines her poetry with a collection of photographs that belonged to her grandmother that depict Black life in the 20th century. This collection earned Lewis the 2023 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry.
Lewis comes to the Caltech campus as part of the James Michelin Distinguished Visitors Program and will be hosted by the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Her reading will be held in Dabney Hall Lounge from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23. For more information, contact Letty Diaz by phone at 626-395-1255 or by email at [email protected].