Welcome to The Athenaeum
Athenaeum programming during spring 2021 will stay online and generally feature two evening Ath events per week. Like the fall, events will begin at 5 pm PST. The 2020-21 Ath Fellows will introduce the program; speakers will make comments and/or be in engaged in a moderated conversation. There will be about 15 minutes for question and answer before the program concludes at 6 pm.
See you soon, stay safe and healthy.
Brian Stafford is CEO of Diligent Corporation, a pioneer of modern governance technology. He is responsible for all day-to-day operations, with a focus on accelerating global growth and incorporating scale into the business in order to seamlessly manage the growth. Previously, Stafford served as a partner at McKinsey & Company, where he founded their Growth Stage Tech Practice, and was also the founder of CarOrder. He holds a Master’s in Computer Science from the University of Chicago and a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Vinay Prasad, M.D. and M.P.H., is a practicing hematologist-oncologist and associate professor in the department of epidemiology and bio-statistics at the University of California San Francisco. He studies cancer drugs, health policy, clinical trials, and better decision making. He is author of over 250 academic articles, and the books Ending Medical Reversal (2015), and Malignant (2020). He hosts the oncology podcast Plenary Session.
Yusef Komunyakaa was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana. The son of a carpenter, Komunyakaa has said that he was first alerted to the power of language through his grandparents, who were church people: “the sound of the Old Testament informed the cadences of their speech,” Komunyakaa has stated. “It was my first introduction to poetry.” Komunyakaa went on to serve in the Vietnam War as a correspondent; he was managing editor of the Southern Cross during the war, for which he received a Bronze Star. He earned a BA from the University of Colorado Springs on the GI Bill, an MA from Colorado State University, and an MFA from the University of California-Irvine.
In his poetry, Komunyakaa weaves together personal narrative, jazz rhythms, and vernacular language to create complex images of life in peace and in war. Komunyakaa’s early work includes the poetry collections "Dedications & Other Darkhorses" (1977) and "Lost in the Bonewheel Factory" (1979). Widespread recognition came with the publication of "Copacetic" (1984), which showcased what would become his distinctive style: vernacular speech layered with syncopated rhythms from jazz traditions. His next book "I Apologize for the Eyes in My Head" (1986) won the San Francisco Poetry Center Award; "Dien Cai Dau" (1988), a book that treated his experience in the Vietnam War in stark and personal terms, won the Dark Room Poetry Prize. It is regularly described as one of the best books of war poetry from the Vietnam War. The collection explores the experience of African American soldiers in the war as well as captures the embattled Southeast Asian landscape. Komunyakaa’s "Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems"(1994) won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Pulitzer Prize.
In 2011 Komunyakaa was awarded the Wallace Stevens Award. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the William Faulkner Prize from the Université de Rennes, the Thomas Forcade Award, the Hanes Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Louisiana Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He served as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1999-2005. He has taught at numerous institutions including University of New Orleans, Indiana University, and Princeton University. Currently he serves as Distinguished Senior Poet in New York University’s graduate creative writing program.
Photo credit: Arthur Elgort
Gabrielle Calvocoressi is the author of "The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart," "Apocalyptic Swing" (a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize), and "Rocket Fantastic," winner of the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry. Calvocoressi is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including a Stegner Fellowship and Jones Lectureship from Stanford University; a Rona Jaffe Woman Writer's Award; a Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa, TX; the Bernard F. Conners Prize from The Paris Review; and a residency from the Civitella di Ranieri Foundation, among others.
Calvocoressi's poems have been published or are forthcoming in numerous magazines and journals including The Baffler, The New York Times, POETRY, Boston Review, Kenyon Review, Tin House, and The New Yorker. Calvocoressi is an editor at large at Los Angeles Review of Books, and poetry editor at Southern Cultures.
Works in progress include a non-fiction book entitled, "The Year I Didn't Kill Myself" and a novel, "The Alderman of the Graveyard."
Calvocoressi teaches at UNC Chapel Hill.