– by TLH Faculty Co-Director, Matt Brim
On April 27 Transformative Learning in the Humanities welcomed poet, scholar, and performer Tracie Morris, MFA, PhD, to the CUNY Graduate Center for the final event in our 2022-23 speaker series. For Morris, the first Black tenured professor in the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the moment was also a homecoming. She is a double CUNY alum and native New Yorker. Speaking to an audience of CUNY students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the local community, Morris explored the ways Black Studies professor Myrna Bain and other Hunter College faculty shaped her, linking affordable public education to the love of learning for its own sake. “CUNY allowed for a merging,” she reflected, the creation of “a philosophy of life.” Invoking artistic influences Sonia Sanchez and Sweet Honey in the Rock, Morris infused her talk with poems from her new collection, human/nature poems. One of the few sound poets working today, Morris concluded by voicing a new sound poem, “apple,” in collaboration with the event’s American Sign Language interpreters. A question and answer period was followed by a celebratory reception for the diverse TLH community built over the past three years of the Andrew Mellon funded initiative.