Fred Moten Discusses Poetry in Raymo Literary Series

October 30, 2019


Delivering the annual Chet Raymo Literary Series lecture on October 16, predominant black studies scholar Fred Moten took his audience on a remarkable journey through black history, culture and poetics, reflecting on his earliest influences and family life as well as his approach to poetry, which for him cuts to the “terror of being looked at and the beauty of being looked at” and “not being seen, but being seen through.”

In his introduction of Moten, Professor of English Daniel Itzkovitz note that to read Moten’s work is to be “invited into a dense and demanding conversation—the best kind of challenge. It’s a conversation that opens up and explores our interweaving and impossible histories: of blackness, of the university, of commonly segregated disciplinary pursuits…literature, philosophy, music, the visual arts.”

Itzkovitz continued by noting that Moten’s conversation is with “fellow critics, with artists, with philosophers—that’s marked by a generosity of spirit, by inspired juxtapositions, by a refusal of containment—it’s really an active rebellion against containment, in its insistence on entanglements and disruptions—and above all, by a commitment to listening at all the registers.”

Thanks to Associate Professor of English Scott Cohen, who is also the Director of the Digital Innovation Lab, the full audio of Moten’s presentation is available above via the Electro-Library podcast, a production of the English Department in collaboration with the Digital Humanities and Creative Writing Programs and the Digital Innovation Lab.