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Donika Kelly & “The Renunciations”

Join us to explore the intersection of self-reflection, creativity, and healing from trauma with author of The Renunciations and 2022 Anisfield-Wolf winner for poetry, Donika Kelly.

In partnership with the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland, the Cleveland Foundation, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, and Cleveland Book Week are proud to host Donika Kelly for a reading and a unique conversation with Dr. Mutajah “Taj” Hussein, Co-Owner and Clinical Director of Kindred Harbor Behavioral Health, a practice that specializes in trauma-informed and LGBTQ+ affirming counseling. Together they will discuss Kelly’s experience writing her award-winning collection as she followed her own therapeutic path recovering from trauma.

Donika Kelly graduated from Southern Arkansas University and went on to earn her MFA in Writing from the Michener Center for Writers and a doctorate in English from Vanderbilt University. Her first book of poetry, “Bestiary,” won the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and the 2017 Hurston/Wright Award. “The Renunciations” responds to her childhood trauma and exists in part to recast its meanings. It also speaks to a wife and lover exiting the speaker’s life. Anisfield-Wolf Juror Rita Dove lauded these poems: “Several mini-sequences are woven throughout; their periodic reappearance – the “Dear –” erasures, Self-Portraits, Sightings, Oracles – acts as a subtle yet devastating reminder of the cycle of violence. I returned to Kelly’s book, and she set me gasping anew. This is poetry of the highest order.”