The Writer’s Block: A Video Q&A with Thomas Sayers Ellis
The Writer’s Block is an ongoing video series of interviews with visiting writers at City of Asylum/Pittsburgh. In these Q&A’s, conducted on Sampsonia Way, writers sit down with us to discuss literature, their craft, and career. View all previous interviews here.
On June 21 Thomas Sayers Ellis came to Pittsburgh as a faculty member of Cave Canem, an organization committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets. City of Asylum/Pittsburgh co-hosted a reading with Cave Canem which featured Ellis as well as poets Nikky Finney, Angela Jackson, and Terrance Hayes.
Before the reading, Thomas Sayers Ellis was interviewed by Bonita Lee Penn, a Pittsburgh-based poet who runs a workshop for young poets and is the Editorial Manager of the Soul Pitt Writers’ Block, the literary section of The Soul Pitt, a community website for minorities in the Western Pennsylvania tri-state area. Read the full interview here.
Ellis is the author of Skin Inc.: Identity Repair Poems, a collection that has been described as his “big, ambitious argument in sound and image for an America whose identity is in need of repair.” Ellis is also the author of the poetry collections The Maverick Room, The Good Junk, The Genuine Negro Hero, and Song On. He teaches at the Lesley University low-residency MFA program and is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Sarah Lawrence College.