Maryland Institute College of Art Department of Language and Literature presents:

Spectrum of Poetic Fire
Reading Series 2000-2001:
A RetroSpectrum

Schedule 2000-2001 Artists 2000-2001
St. Valentine's Day Poetry Marathon About Spectrum
Contact Us


from Spectrum of Poetic Fire Director, Chezia Thompson-Cager (September 2000)

Perhaps in some nascent way we know that language equals power, despite the loud denials of an information management systems culture. We are told computer technology is power, money is power, conquering space is power, understanding the mind is power, without being told that what they all have in common is the medium of exchange—words or symbols that function as language.

The real success of the internet is its ability to free society from a mainstream word monitor, who decides what a good book may be or how to spell anything correctly. At its best, the internet provides a medium for us to fall in love with words again and rediscover the art of image-making. It is what poets have been doing since the beginning of sign and symbol making, as an act of human intelligence.

This year the 20th Anniversary of Spectrum of Poetic Fire Reading Series returns to celebrate poetry and writing by a broad spectrum of writers. The Maryland Institute College of Art Department of Language & Literature invites all of you to join our faculty and students at the readings and receptions in salute to the power of words to transform our environments and our minds.

The year begins September 8, 2000 at 6 p.m. at the Mount Royal Station Building with a production of a choreopoem by Artscape Playwright winner Denise Gantt's "Under the Veil of Saint Theresa." The evening will feature the release of the MICA student Literary Journal Fire (Volume IV) and their guests student literary journal editors from Towson University and the College of Notre Dame. The invited writers for the year all believe in the power of words as literature and as teaching tools. They include: novelist and teacher Darcey Steinke, poet and critic Houston A. Baker, Jr., poet and teacher Barbara DeCesare, poet and translator Christopher Sawyer-Laucanno, poet and teacher Elizabeth Spires, poet and editor, Sam Schmidt, poet and teacher Virginia Crawford, poet and television producer Blair Ewing and performance poet Alan Barysh.

Each writer's special talent is cause for us to celebrate this year. Houston Baker's special gift to us, as the premier African-American critic of American writing in the 20th century, is a poetry duel with me. The duel will feature a wide range of poetry from his three published books and his recently released volume. We are also pleased to feature Christopher Sawyer-Laucanno who will be doing dramatic readings from his translations of ancient Mayan poetry, Rafael Alberti's Concerning The Angels and Lorcas's Barbarous Nights for the first time at MICA. The Valentine Sunday Marathon this year will be co-hosted by Blair Ewing, and though the line-up is already attracting media interest, we will need your help to make it a success.

As the new director of Spectrum of Poetic Fire, I am excited about our continued commitment to inviting great craftsmen to Maryland, as we continue to support the work of the wonderful writers who forge the fibers of culture everyday where we stand.

Of course, the 20th anniversary salutes all of the men and women who made the series a legend in its own time, to be a legacy for future generations.

Chezia Thompson Cager

Schedule 2000-2001 Artists 2000-2001 
St. Valentine's Day Poetry Marathon About Spectrum
Contact Us

©2001 Spectrum of Poetic Fire. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this website may be reproduced without express permission of the Department of Language and Literature, Maryland Institute College of Art.

©2001. Retrospectrum 2000-2001 photographs by Jen Dennis for Spectrum of Poetic Fire.