Award-winning author, poet, teacher and essayist Ladan Osman will share an evening of lyrical testimony on campus in A.D. White House at 5 p.m. on April 30.
Author of poetry collections Ordinary Heaven, Sillerman First Book Prize-winning The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony and a new work by the name of Exiles of Eden to be released May 7, Osman has a repertoire of work that is honest and powerful, said event coordinator Prof. Cristina Correa, English.
“A voice like Ladan’s, I think, tends to be a bit hidden by … other voices,” said Correa in a phone interview with The Sun. “I think what she’s doing on the page is very powerful, especially coming from a black woman in this country right now, an African immigrant voice, a Muslim voice, and also her attention to include visuals in her work.”
Correa first met Osman in Chicago, after which they became close friends.
“I became a huge fan of her style and just her willingness to be honest as an artist,” Correa said. “I still find great inspiration in it.”
A hyper-visual and lyrically talented writer, according to Correra, Osman will come to campus to read her work and contemplate the question of testimony, while highlighting the problems of “race, gender, displacement, and colonialism,” according to the event description.
“The voice is immediate and powerful on the page, but hearing it is a special kind of intensity rare in American poetry,” said Hutchinson in an email to The Sun.
The night will begin with an introduction by Prof. Ishion Ira Hutchinson, English. When Hutchinson first encountered Ladan’s work, it “took the top of [his] head off,” Hutchinson said.
While he said he was astounded while just reading her work, Hutchinson is looking forward to listening to Ladan read.
“A wonderful poet is here, that we are extremely fortunate to have her presence at this shifting moment,” Hutchinson said. “The experience of hearing Ladan is singular and if it can be helped, should not be missed.”
The event is intended to join a range of individuals together to contemplate questions of “whose testimony is valid?” and “whose testimony should be recorded?” as made possible by Correa and a range of sponsors who supported the coordination of this event, the description reads.
“I am most looking forward to looking out at the audience and seeing a lot of different kinds of people from the Cornell and Ithaca community gathering to support the elevation of her voice but also to learn from her,” Correa said. “It is really beneficial to all of us to keep inviting artists who are doing this kind of work into our spaces.”
The event begins at 5 p.m. on April 30 at the A.D. White House.