• Home

Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice

The Indiana Writers Center, in partnership with PEN America, invites you to join a free reading from Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice, which includes writing by 78 poets laureate (youth, city, regional, state, US, and Canadian poets laureate) who represent the diversity of the Great Lakes region. Focusing on contemporary issues, Undocumented showcases the varied subjects critical to understanding social justice in the Great Lakes region, including indigenous rights, racism, water access and use, sexual violence, and disability. Former Indiana Poets Laureates Karen Kovacik, Norbert Krapf, and Shari Wagner will read their work from the anthology, and local writers will read a selection of other writers represented in the collection. An open mic will follow. 

Karen Kovacik is a poet and translator of contemporary Polish poetry. Her books include Metropolis Burning, with many evocations of cities at war; Beyond the Velvet Curtain, winner of the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize;and Nixon and I. Her translation of Agnieszka Kuciak’s Distant Lands: An Anthology of Poets Who Don’t Exist,  longlisted for the 2014 National Translation Award, is available from White Pine Press, and in 2016, White Pine published Scattering the Dark: An Anthology of Polish Women Poets, edited and selected by her. She’s Professor of English at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), where she teaches creative writing and American poetry. Her work has been honored with the Charity Randall Citation from the International Poetry Forum, a Fulbright Research Grant to Poland, and a Fellowship in Literary Translation from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Former Indiana Poet Laureate Norbert Krapf is the winner of the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, a Glick Indiana Author Award for his entire work, and a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis to combine poetry and the blues. He was a Fulbright Professor of American Poetry at the Universities of Freiburg and Erlangen Nuremberg in Germany and is emeritus Prof. of English at Long Island University, where he directed the CW Post Poetry Center for 18 years and taught for over 30 years. Krapf is the author, editor, or translator of 27 books. His recent Catholic Boy Blues: A Poets Journal of Healing(2014) received an Alpha & Omega Religious Risk Award, and his prose memoir Shrinking the Monster: Healing the Wounds of Our Abuse (2016) won an Illumination Book Award and is a finalist for an INDIES Book Award. His prose memoir The Ripest Moments: A Southern Indiana Childhood, was a finalist for Best Book of Indiana.

Shari Wagner was Indiana’s fifth Poet Laureate (2016-2017) and the author of two books of poems: The Harmonist at Nightfall: Poems of Indiana and Evening Chore. She is also the co-author, with her physician father, Dr. Gerald Miller, of A Hundred Camels: A Mission Doctor’s Sojourn and Murder Trial in Somalia and Making the Rounds: Memoirs of a Small-Town Doctor. Wagner’s work has been nominated four times for Pushcart Prizes, and she has been awarded two Creative Renewal Fellowships from the Arts Counsel of Indianapolis, as well as eleven grants from the Indiana Arts Commission. In 2009, her essay, “Camels, Cowries & a Poem for Aisha,” was co-winner of Shenandoah’s “The Carter Prize for the Essay.” She is the editor of Returning: Stories from the Indianapolis Senior Center and co-editor of I Remember: Creative Writing by Indianapolis Youth, 2012.  She teaches with the Indiana Writers Center, where she has been a faculty member since 2008.