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Ed Pavlić

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Distinguished Research Professor of English, African American Studies and Creative Writing

Ed Pavlić (Ph.D. Indiana University) is Distinguished Research Professor of English and African American Studies and affiliated faculty in Creative Writing. Pavlić's 13 published books range across (and at times between) genres: poetry, non-fiction, critical studies, and a novel. He twice served as Director of the Creative Writing PhD Program in English (2006-2011, 2015-2017).

His most recent books are: Call It in the Air (Milkweed Editions, 2022), a book-length documentary poem; Outward: Adrienne Rich's Expanding Solitudes (University of Minnesota Press, 2021), a study of the poet's career; Let It Be Broke (Four Way Books, 2020) a collection of poems focused upon racial dynamics in contemporary life; Another Kind of Madness (Milkweed Editions, 2019), a novel set in Chicago and coastal Kenya and tuned to the sound and structure of soul music, especially the songs of Chaka Khan; Live at the Bitter End (Saturnalia Books, 2018); Let's Let That Are Not Yet : Inferno (National Poetry Series, Fence Books, 2015) and 'Who Can Afford to Improvise?': James Baldwin and Black Music, the Lyric and the Listeners (Fordham University Press, 2015). His works also include: Visiting Hours at the Color Line (National Poetry Series, Milkweed Editions, 2013); But Here Are Small Clear Refractions (Achebe Center, 2009, Kwani? Trust, 2013); Winners Have Yet to be Announced: A Song for Donny Hathaway (U Georgia P, 2008); Labors Lost Left Unfinished (UPNE/Sheep Meadow Press, 2006); Crossroads Modernism: Descent and Emergence in African American Literary Culture (U Minnesota Press, 2002); and Paraph of Bone & Other Kinds of Blue (APR-Honickman/Copper Canyon, 2001).

Books in progress include: "No Time to Rest: James Baldwin's Several Lives," a retelling of Baldwin's career based new archival sources and focusing on his personae in public and private life, with family and in creative solitude; and "At the Mercy of the Light," a memoir exploring racially non-binary experience.   

He has published essays, poems, fiction and dramatic pieces in publications and with organizations including: The Academy of American Poets (, The American Poetry Review, A Gathering of the Tribes, Africa Is a Country, African American Review, AGNI, The American Book Review, The Artful Dodge, The New Black Magazine, Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters, DoubleTake, The Black Scholar, Black Renaissance Noire, Black Warrior Review, Boston Review, Brick, A Literary Journal, Brilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz and Literature, The Chimurenga Chronic, Colorado Review, Contemporary Literature, The Cortland Review, The Georgia Review, Indiana Review, The Quarterly Conversation, Cross-Connect, Xcp: Cross Cultural Poetics, The Chicago Quarterly Review, 5 Trope, F(r)iction, Harvard Review, James Baldwin Review, Jubilat, Kwani?, Kweli Journal, Lana Turner, LIT HUB, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Memorious: a forum for new verse and poetics, MiPoesias, Mississippi Quarterly, Modernism/Modernity, Narrative Magazine, New Orleans Review, The New York Times, Ninth Letter, Nimrod, Open City, Oxford American, PBS Newshour, PEN Poetry Series, PEN World Voices Anthology, Ploughshares, The Poetry Foundation, Red Wheelbarrow, Source, Smartish Pace, Terminus, Transition, Triggerfish Critical Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Wasafiri, Washington Square, The Wallace Stevens Review, and The Worcester Review.

His honors and awards include a selection for the Best American Essays 2024, the Author of the Year Award from the Georgia Writer's Association (2023), the Staige D. Blackford Prize for Nonfiction (2022), Albert Christ-Janer Creative Research Award (2015), the National Poetry Series Open Competition (2014), the National Poetry Series Open Competition (2012), the Author of the Year Award from the Georgia Writers Association (2009), the The American Poetry Review / Honickman First Book Prize (2001), and the Darwin Turner Memorial Award from African American Review (1997)He has had grants and fellowships from The Mellon Foundation, The Lannan Foundation, The MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf, The Vermont Studio Center, The Willson Center for the Humanities, and the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute / Hutchins Center at Harvard University.

Pavlić teaches classes mainly in modern and contemporary African American and American poetry, fiction, film and music as well as courses in creative writing. He’s particularly interested in courses that explore the literary imagination, as well as its cultural and political implications, in relation to other media such as music, film, and photography. Recent courses include:

ENGL 2390 Honors : ‘Mongrel Ink’ and the Modal I/eye: Multinational and Multicultural Visions in Michael Ondaatje’s Prose, Poetics and Films

English 3800 : Creative Writing : “First Course in Turbulence” : The Workshop

English 4860 : Topics in Multicultural Literature : “as a Dance / it is obscure” : Black Music in American and International Writing

English 4860 : ‘WHO CAN AFFORD TO IMPROVISE?’ : Emergent, Human Geographies in the Transnational Literary Imagination

English 4880 : Topics in African American Literature : “alter / become a something more” : Contemporary African American Poetry

English 4800 : Advanced Creative Writing : Adapting the Visual : Film as Figure and Fictive Art

English 4884 : "Love will stunt your growth / Hate'll make you old": 21st Century Black Writing 

English 4690 : “Question of Degree” : Perfecting the Fallible in Samuel Beckett’s Major Works

English 4883 : From Be-Bop to Hip-Hop: Classic Voices in Modern and Contemporary Black Music 

English 4882 : “BLACK SOUNDS MATTER” : Black Music in Modern and Contemporary Cinema

English 4995: "You can't be romantic about love" : James Baldwin's Fiction

English 8800 : Graduate Poetry Workshop : “Instructions for Building Straw Huts” : The Poetry Workshop

English 6800 : Graduate Form and Craft in Creative Writing : “pictures fly without target” : the Photo-Poetic and Fictive-Filmic in Michael Ondaatje’s Writing”

English 6800 : Graduate Form : Writing Behind the Writing : Letters, Journals in/as Literary Art

English 8730 : Graduate Seminar : “Making Words Do Something” : James Baldwin’s Political Aesthetic

English 8800 : Graduate Seminar : ‘this touch is political’ : Adrienne Rich and the Poetics of Relational Politics


Links to Recent Work

Adrienne Rich's Solitudes:

Beyond Simplicity Part 1:

Beyond Simplicity Part 2:

Aretha Franklin's Soul:

Boston Review:  "We Called That Touch"

from All Along It Was a Fever—a what poem

LARB:  Ed Pavlić on Turning into Dwelling


Amen is the Price: James Baldwin and Ray Charles at Carnegie Hall

Boston Review:  Come On Up, Sweetheart:  James Baldwin's Letters to his Brother

Oh Don't Try Me": On Style, Salt, and Serena Williams's Utterly Astonishing Breadth of Utterance

In at the Door: Book Three: Inflation

". . .where only the truth can live": James Baldwin's Poetics of the Heart (1951-1955)

The Goal is Clarity: War, Sports, and the Dangerous, Delightful, and Disgusting Elasticity of Experience

Welcome to the Errordome: Are Editors Still Afraid of James Baldwin?

“As long as you think you’re white, you’re irrelevant”: James Baldwin’s White History Week

(Part 1) James Baldwin at 90: Not the Country We’re Sitting In Now

(Part 2) James Baldwin at 90: Toward a Writing Immune to Bullshit

(Part 3) James Baldwin at 90: Black Style in an Age of Sights for the Speechless

(Part 4) James Baldwin at 90: The Brilliance of Children, the Duty of Citizens

Selected Publications:
Live at the Bitter End Let’s Let That Are Not Yet : INFERNO Who Can Afford to Improvise?: James Baldwin and Black Music, the Lyric and the Listeners
Visiting Hours at the Color Line But Here Are Small Clear Refractions Winners Have Yet to Be Announced A Song for Donny Hathaway
Labors Lost Left Unfinished  Crossroads Modernism: Descent and Emergence in African American Literary Culture Paraph of Bone & Other Kinds of Blue


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