An Evening of Poetry and Discussion with LaTasha Diggs

February 28, 2024 (Wednesday) / 5:30 pm

Fagin Hall 114, 418 Curie Blvd.

An Evening of Poetry and Discussion with LaTasha Diggs

LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs

Interdisciplinary poet and sound artist 

Presented by the Philomathean Society

Poet and sound artist LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs is the author of Village (Coffee House Press 2023) and TwERK (Belladonna, 2013). She is also the author of three chapbooks, which include Ichi- Ban and Ni-Ban (MOH Press), Manuel is destroying my bathroom (Belladonna*), and the album Televisíon.

Diggs’s work is truly hybrid: languages and modes are grafted together and furl out insistently from each bound splice. Reflecting on Village, Diggs’ most recent collection, Camille Dungy says: “Part instruction manual, part celebration, part dance party, part garden tour, Village refuses compartmentalization, demanding engaged and engaging ways of looking at and talking about difficult shared experiences in English, Portuguese, Tsalagi, Māori, Arabic, Yoruba, and more. These poems by LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs reveal the richly diverse ecosystem of what a limited imagination might sideline as a ‘marginalized’ life.” As part of the self-interview project The Next Big Thing, Diggs addressed some of her inspirations for TwERK, including “the overall desire to communicate with other tongues. The fact that most of the world is at the least bi/tri-lingual and a number of Americans still think English is best and fail to hear the Bengali being spoken just feet away from them in the 7-Eleven.”

Diggs has received a 2020 C.D. Wright Award for Poetry from the Foundation of Contemporary Art, a 2016 Whiting Award and a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, as well as grants and fellowships from the Howard Foundation, Cave Canem, Creative Capital, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission, among others.

Diggs has presented and performed at a wide and eclectic array of venues, from California Institute of the Arts and The Museum of Modern Art to the International Poetry Festival of Copenhagen and the International Poetry Festival of Romania. As an independent curator, artistic director, and producer, Diggs has presented events for BAMCafé, Black Rock Coalition, El Museo del Barrio, La Casita, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, and the David Rubenstein Atrium.

She teaches at Brooklyn and Barnard College, and lives in New York City.

Cosponsored by Penn's Department of English and Wolf Humanities Center.

The Philomathean Society of the University of Pennsylvania exists for those who feel that college should be about more than getting a degree. Philo's mission is to increase the learning of the members and the academic prestige of the University.

Founded in 1813, the Society has pursued its mission of learning outside the classroom in whatever ways struck its membership best; a common answer to the question “what is Philo?” is “whatever Philos want it to be.” Over the centuries it has maintained its student autonomy.

Thus, Philos have at one time or another embarked on major works of scholarship (like producing the first English translation of the Rosetta Stone), advocated for the creation of the Comparative Literature, Religious Studies, and American Civilization departments, launched campus publications (the longest-lived of which is the Daily Pennsylvanian, its scenier brother 34th Street, and its dumber sibling the Punch Bowl), and staged major dramatic productions (the Masque of the American Drama involved every undergraduate then enrolled at Penn).

Today the Society regularly organizes and hosts talks, lectures series, intimate professor teas, as well as poetry readings, film screenings, dramatic performances, art shows, debates, exhibits, and special classes. All efforts are run, planned, and organized completely by Philos. The Society’s flagship event is the Annual Oration, where Philo invites an public intellectual to speak to the public. Past Annual Orators have included Jane Goodall, Ayn Rand, the President of Haiti, Margaret Mead, Tony Auth, Hans Morgenthau, Jared Diamond, Judith Butler, Daniel Dennett, Salman Rushdie, Arthur Miller, and Richard Dawkins. Most of Philo’s events and activities take place in our historic Philomathean Hall. All events are free and open to the public.