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    Marian Miner Cook

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Welcome to The Athenaeum

COVID-19 Update:

Dear Friends,

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.

We hope you stay connected and follow us on our Instagram and at Facebook.

See you soon, stay safe and healthy.

Warm regards,

Priya Junnar

Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - Evening Program
Modern Leadership: Accelerating Diversity and Inclusion from the Top
Brian Stafford
Diligent Corporation has quietly become one of the largest SaaS companies on the planet, providing governance software to nearly 20,000 organizations globally. Following the events of 2020, Diligent has called on its network of board members and executives to positively impact diversity from the top. CEO Brian Stafford will share details on the initiative that is changing the board succession planning process and reflect on the role companies should play to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive society.   

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.

Thursday, March 18, 2021 - Evening Program
COVID-19: Should Schools Be Open?
Vinay Prasad
Every discussion or debate around COVID-19 has become protracted, political, and bitter, and what to do about schools is no exception. Indeed schools present a tradeoff. When they're open, society benefits from the essential services schools provide: education, child abuse reporting, hot meals, and socio-emotional development. Closing them may theoretically slow viral spread. How should a society decide? Vinay Prasad, M.D. and M.P.H., a practicing hematologist-oncologist and associate professor in the department of epidemiology and bio-statistics at the University of California San Francisco, will make the case that unless the local healthcare system is approaching overload or collapse, schools should remain open. 

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.

Monday, March 22, 2021 - Evening Program
Yusef Komunyakaa: An Evening of Poetry and Reflections
Yusef Komunyakaa
First alerted to the power of language through his grandparents, who were church people, and for whom the "sound of the Old Testament informed the cadences of their speech,” award winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa's poetry weaves together personal narrative, jazz rhythms, and vernacular language to create complex images of life in peace and in war, in places near and far, and of experiences old and new. Photo credit: Arthur Elgort

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

Monday, April 05, 2021 - Evening Program
We’ve Got You: Crafting Economies of Care in Poetry and Beyond
Gabrielle Calvocoressi
Poet and writer Gabrielle Calvocoressi will examine the ways poetry enacts and sets a path forward for new ways of thinking about our various economies (both real and imagined). Using the work of Destiny Hemphill, Fred Moten, among others, including Calvocoressi’s own poems, as a guide, how might the way we craft our own work help us think more rigorously and expansively about priorities, compassion, power, and indebtedness?  

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.


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