Sherry Memorial Poet Lecture by Cecilia Vicuña

Tuesday, April 3
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society
5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637

Cecilia Vicuña, a poet and artist who will serve as the 2018 Sherry Poet-in-Residence and whose artwork will be exhibited at the Neubauer Collegium gallery this spring, will be in residence at the Creative Writing Program the week of April 1-5. On April 3 she will deliver the Pearl Andelson Sherry Memorial Poet Lecture at the Neubauer Collegium. On April 5 she will give the Sherry Memorial Poetry Reading at the Logan Center for the Arts. Both events are sponsored by the Poetry & Poetics Program at the University of Chicago.

ABOUT CECILIA VICUÑA: Cecilia Vicuña is a poet, artist, filmmaker and activist. Her work addresses pressing concerns of the modern world, including ecological destruction, human rights, and cultural homogenization. Born and raised in Santiago de Chile, she has been in exile since the early 1970s, after the military coup against elected president Salvador Allende. Vicuña began creating "precarious works" and  quipus in the mid 1960s in Chile, as a way of "hearing an ancient silence waiting to be heard." Her multi-dimensional works begin as a poem, an image that morphs into a film, a song, a sculpture, or a collective performance. These ephemeral, site-specific installations in nature, streets, and museums combine ritual and assemblage. She calls this impermanent, participatory work “lo precario” (the precarious): transformative acts that bridge the gap between art and life, the ancestral and the avant-garde. Her paintings of early 1970s de-colonized the art of the conquerors and the "saints" inherited from the Catholic Church, to create irreverent images of the heroes of the revolution. A partial list of museums that have exhibited her work include: The Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Santiago; The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) London; Art in General in NYC; The Whitechapel Art Gallery in London; The Berkeley Art Museum; The Whitney Museum of American Art; and MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Vicuña has published twenty-two art and poetry books, including Kuntur Ko (Tornsound, 2015), Spit Temple: The Selected Performances of Cecilia Vicuña (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012), Instan (Kelsey Street Press, 2001) and Cloud Net (Art in General, 2000). Her Selected Poems is forthcoming from Kelsey Street Press in 2017. In 2009, she co-edited The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry: 500 Years of Latin American Poetry. She edited ÜL: Four Mapuche Poets in 1997. She was appointed the Messenger Lecturer 2015 at Cornell University, an honor bestowed on authors who contribute to the "evolution of civilization for the special purpose of raising the moral standard of our political, business, and social life." She divides her time between Chile and New York.

ABOUT THE PEARL ANDELSON SHERRY MEMORIAL POETRY READING AND LECTURE: The Pearl Andelson Sherry Memorial Poetry Reading and Lecture honor the life and work of former University of Chicago student Pearl Andelson Sherry. Pearl Andelson Sherry was born on the west side of Chicago in 1899. Despite objections from her father, she attended the University for one year, probably in 1916–1917. During that time, Pearl Sherry met a group of writers and poets involved in the Poetry Club, including Ivor Winters, Janet Lewis, and John Toigo; she remained friends with the members of the Poetry Club for the rest of her life. This literary circle nurtured Pearl Sherry’s own aspirations as a writer, and she began her writing career working at Poetry magazine with Harriet Monroe. Her first book of poetry, Fringe, was published in 1923. Her poetry, fiction, and reviews appeared in many periodicals, including Dial, Poetry, New Republic, Chelsea, and the Southern Review. Pearl Sherry continued to write and publish poetry until shortly before she died in 1996. Established in 1997 through a gift from the Sherry Family, the Pearl Andelson Sherry Memorial Fund annually brings a major contemporary poet to the University of Chicago to work with students and to present the Pearl Andelson Sherry Memorial Poetry Reading and Lecture.