Erica Hunt & Mackda Ghebremariam Tesfau’ – The Sounding Reticence


Erica Hunt & Mackda Ghebremariam Tesfau’ – The Sounding Reticence

A graphic showing pink edges and rope-like design elements

As part of its Black History Month programming, and in partnership with Short Theatre and NERO, the American Academy in Rome is hosting a conversation between Erica Hunt (2024 Fellow) and Mackda Ghebremariam Tesfau’ to celebrate Fred Moten’s poetic oeuvre and the ways it resonates with their practices and personal experiences, on the occasion of the launch of La Sonora Reticenza, the latest book by Moten published by the Italian editorial house. Click HERE for more info about the book.

Over more than two decades of research and poetical experimentation, Moten has explored the relationship between social movements and Black aesthetics in a wide range of areas, from critical theory and literature to art, performance, and music. His work has profoundly influenced many poets, artists, and readers. Moten’s poetry is characterized by a cherished opacity and a musicality that boldly stretches to the very limits of noise. In his verses, meaning is “subordinate to the sound,” and that is “the sound of the resistance to slavery; the critique of (private) property and of the proper.”

Bringing together the poet Erica Hunt (2024 Fellow) and the activist and scholar Mackda Ghebremariam Tesfau’, the conversation explores the artistic and political significance of Moten’s poetry, including the potentiality of language as memory and resistance, and discusses Blackness as refusal, autonomy, and “self-possession.”

Erica Hunt is the 2024 Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize Fellow in Literature, a gift of the Drue Heinz Trust. Hunt is the author of Local History, Arcade, Piece Logic, Time Flies Right Before the Eyes, VERONICA: A Suite in X Parts, and, most recently, Jump the Clock. Hunt's poems and non-fiction have appeared in BOMB, Boundary 2, the Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Poetics Journal, Tripwire, FENCE, Hambone, In the American Tree, and Conjunctions, among other publications. Essays on poetics, feminism, and politics have been collected in Moving Borders: Three Decades of Innovative Writing by Women, A-LINE, and The Politics of Poetic Form, The World, and other anthologies. With the poet and scholar Dawn Lundy Martin, Hunt is coeditor of the anthology Letters to the Future, Black Women/Radical Writing in 2018 (Kore Press). Hunt has received fellowships from the Foundation for Contemporary Art, the Fund for Poetry, the Djerassi Foundation and Duke University/the University of Capetown Program in Public Policy.

Mackda Ghebremariam Tesfau’ is a social-science researcher and activist. She obtained her doctorate at the University of Padua with a thesis entitled “Why don’t you take them to your house? Antiracism and everyday life in the experiences of coexistence solidarity.” (“Perché non li porti a casa tua? Storie di accoglienza tra rifugiati e locali”), in which she analyzes racism and antiracism to explain the connection between everyday practices and systems of domination. Tesfau’ is adjunct professor at the IUAV University of Venice, Stanford Florence, and NYU Florence and research collaborator at the University of Padua. She is resident curator at Centrale Fies as part of the “Agitu Ideo Gudeta” artistic residency fellowship. She is actively involved in the antiracist debate in Italy, particularly in the fields of education and outreach.

This event will be held in English.

Date & time
Thursday, February 29, 2024
6:30 PM
McKim, Mead & White Building
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Security notice

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Event sponsorship

In partnership with NERO, Short Theatre, with support from the US Embassy in Rome.

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation generously supports Conversations/Conversazioni at the American Academy in Rome.