Jake Adam York read these seven poems in the Gadsden Public Library on January 26, 2008, for an audience that included friends and family members. In various ways, all of the poems attempt to portray the complex and often obscured "psychic geography" in and around York's hometown of Gadsden, Alabama. Several of them deal with various episodes from the Civil Rights struggles in Alabama and nearby states. For York, these histories are inscribed in the landscape. His poems play with truth, witnessing, and collective responsibility, often related to the ghosts of the Civil Rights past.
"In the Queen City: A Reading at the Gadsden Public Library" is part of the Poets in Place series, a Research Collaboration in the Humanities initiative funded through Emory University's Presidential Woodruff Fund, in collaboration with the Office of the Provost. Series producers are Natasha Trethewey and Allen Tullos.
A Reading at the Gadsden Public Library
Part 2: York reads from “At Liberty (1961),” “At Liberty (1964),” and “Substantiation”
Part 3: York reads from “At Sun Ra’s Grave” and “Walt Whitman in Alabama”
Text of Poems Referenced
"In the Magic City," "From A Field Guide to Etowah County," "The Crowd He Becomes,"
"At Liberty (1961)," "At Liberty (1964)," "Substantiation," "At Sun Ra's Grave," and
"Walt Whitman in Alabama."
About Jake Adam York
Raised near Gadsden in northeast Alabama by his steelworker father and his mother, a history teacher, Jake Adam York studied architecture and English at Auburn University. He received an M.F.A. in creative writing and English literature from Cornell University. He is currently an associate professor of English at the University of Colorado, Denver, where he directs the creative writing program. York has published two books of poetry, Murder Ballads (2005), and A Murmuration of Starlings (2008), and his poems have appeared in various journals, including Blackbird, Diagram, Greensboro Review, Gulf Coast, H_NGM_N, New Orleans Review, Shenandoah, and Southern Review.
Cover Image Attribution:The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Image in public domain.
York, Jake Adam. The Architecture of Address: The Monument and Public Speech in American Poetry. New York: Routledge, 2004.
———. Murder Ballads. Denver, Co.: Elixir Press, 2005.
———. A Murmuration of Starlings. Carbondale, Ill.: Southern Illinois University Press, Crab Orchard Series in Poetry, 2008.
Blackbird, an online journal of arts and literature
This journal has published eight of Jake Adam York's poems, as well as an interview with him.
Blackbird 3.2 (Fall 2004): Four poems: "Bunk Richardson," "Consolation," "On Tallaseehatchee Creek," and "Vigil."
Blackbird 4.1 (Spring 2005): An Interview with Jake Adam York
Blackbird 5.2 (Fall 2006): Four poems: "At Liberty," "Substantiation," "For Reverend James Reeb," and "For Lamar Smith."
Colorado Poets Center
The Colorado Poets Center website offers four poems by Jake Adam York: "Walt Whitman in Alabama," "Hush," "Negatives," and "York."
Jake Adam York works with students and faculty at the University of Colorado, Denver on Copper Nickel, a journal of art and literature.
DIAGRAM, an electronic journal of text and art
Jake Adam York has published three poems in this journal.
DIAGRAM 2.3: "Signal"
DIAGRAM 3.2: "Elegy for James Knox"
DIAGRAM 7.2: "The Crowd He Becomes"
This journal published Jake Adam York's poem, "Interferometry."
H_NGM_N, an online journal of poetry, poetics, &c.
Jake Adam York has published seven poems in this journal: "Aubade," "Doppler," "What You Wish For," "Under," "Fell," "Heat," and "Regret/Egret."
Interview with Jake Adam York in Dislocate Magazine
Dislocate is a literary journal run by Creative Writing MFA students at the University of Minnesota.
Jake Adam York
Jake Adam York's website includes his blog, information about his publications, and a schedule of his readings.
Octopus, an online poetry magazine
This magazine published Jake Adam York's poem, "Legba Says."
Shampoo, a poetry magazine
Two poems by Jake Adam York have appeared in Shampoo: "Still" and "Bye Bye Blackbird/Blackbird Bye Bye"
Jake Adam York is one of the editors of storySouth, an online publication showcasing fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry by southern writers.
Terrain.org, a journal of the built and natural environments
Jake Adam York has published three poems at Terrain.org: "Panoramic: Landscape With Repeating Figures," "Double Exposure," and "Elegy for Little Girls."
Town Creek Poetry
Jake Adam York was the Featured Poet in Volume 1 Issue 1 (Spring 2007) of Town Creek Poetry. In this issue, he participated in an interview and published ten poems: "At Cornwall Furnace," "Breakfast," "Cannon," "Elegy for Little Girls," "In the Magic City," "Iron," "Janney," "Landscape in Dolomite and Ferric Oxide," "Looking for Cane Creek Furnace," and "Midnight, Furnace, Wind."
Three of Jake Adam York's poems have appeared in this magazine: "Diphthong," "Virga," and "Radiotherapy."