Poet and playwright, veteran and parent, professor and writer, Khadijah Queen’s luminous body of work explores questions and experiences as varied as her own. Across different voices, different forms, and different media altogether, Queen’s writing is both engaging and insightful, innovative and available to audiences of all kinds.
Students will have the opportunity to experience these qualities for themselves, as Queen will visit Colorado State University on October 25 to give a reading at 7:30 p.m. in the Longs Peak Room of the Lory Student Center. Queen will read poems and pieces from recent and forthcoming works, followed by a short question-and-answer session with the audience. In both, listeners can expect to be riveted.
Queen’s latest collection, I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On, is a potent examination of the celebrity male gaze, and functions as—as Natalie Diaz puts it—“an accumulation of the feminine memory that has had enough.” True to the title, Queen investigates this arena with sharp humor and an unflinching critical eye, engaging and employing the reader in that same pursuit, pulling us along through a work rich in momentum.
Queen’s previous book, Fearful Beloved, is at once kindred to her latest and in another field entirely. The poet engages the nature of fear and its effect on the female body. In a piece that looks directly at violence, at loss, at how fear operates in the world and in a person, Queen maintains breathtaking control over image and voice. As she writes, “What was between them is vanishing. She wonders why, just now, she begins to feel / the bruisable monument in her turn into a bouquet of red lilies.”
One of the foremost joys of reading or listening to Khadijah Queen is that she draws her audience’s attention always to the authentic beginnings of each project, whether the inciting experience or string of thoughts that began each poem, play, or story. As Queen put it in an interview from 2017, “It still excites me to begin at the blank page, and it’s joyous to finish after the tough work of getting the words down, of puzzling them into something to call complete.” In the authenticity of its gesture and the openness with which it is offered to her reader, Khadijah Queen’s work calls each of us to engage every piece as a tool with which to look deeper.
As with all Creative Writing Reading Series events, Queen’s October 25 reading is free and open to the public. Please register for a seat here: https://advancing.colostate.edu/EVENTS/CWRS
Check out other upcoming events at CSU.