The Pearl Andelson Sherry Memorial Poetry Reading and Lecture

Ishion Hutchinson 

Born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, poet Ishion Hutchinson earned a BA at the University of the West Indies, an MFA at New York University, and a PhD at the University of Utah. He is the author of two collections of poetry: Far District (2010), winner of the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, and House of Lords and Commons (2016), winner of the National Books Critics Circle award. Hutchinson’s additional honors include a Whiting Writers’ Award and the Academy of American Poets’ Larry Levis Prize. A Pirogue Fellow, Hutchinson teaches at Cornell University.

Ed Roberson

Roberson is the author of numerous books of poetry, including To See the Earth Before the End of the World (2010), which was a runner up for the Los Angeles Times Poetry Award; The New Wing of the Labyrinth (2009); City Eclogue (2006); Atmosphere Conditions (1999), which was chosen by Nathaniel Mackey for the National Poetry Series and was a finalist for the Academy of American Poets’ Lenore Marshall Award; Just In: Word of Navigational Change: New and Selected Work (1998); and Voices Cast Out to Talk Us In (1995), which won the Iowa Poetry Prize. His most recent publication is the chapbook Closest Pronunciation (2013.) His earlier collections include Etai-Eken (1975) and When Thy King is a Boy (1970). Words and phrases in Roberson’s experimental poetry actively resist parsing, using instead what Mackey has called “double-jointed syntax” to explore and bend themes of race, history, and culture. “I’m not creating a new language. I’m just trying to un-White-Out the one we’ve got,” said Roberson in a 2006 interview with Chicago Postmodern Poetry.

Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith has been called “a testament to the power of words to change lives.” She is the author of seven books of poetry, including Incendiary Art (2017); Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (2012), which won the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Blood Dazzler (2008), a chronicle of the human and environmental cost of Hurricane Katrina which was nominated for a National Book Award; and Teahouse of the Almighty, a 2005 National Poetry Series selection published by Coffee House Press. Her work has appeared in Poetry, the Paris Review, the New York Times, TriQuarterly, Tin House, The Washington Post, and in both Best American Poetry and Best American Essays. She is a 2014 Guggenheim fellow, a 2012 fellow at both MacDowell and Yaddo, a two-time Pushcart Prize winner, recipient of a Lannan fellowship and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition’s history. She is currently working on a biography of Harriet Tubman, a poetry volume combining text and 19th century African-American photos, and a collaborative novel with her husband Bruce DeSilva, the Edgar-Award winning author of the Liam Mulligan crime novels.


Saturday April 8, 5:00 pm

Logan Center for the Arts


Sunday, April 9, 12:00 pm

Logan Center for the Arts, Terrace Seminar Room

Lunch provided for participants.

A Brief History of the Pearl Andelson Sherry Memorial Poetry Reading and Lecture 

The Pearl Andelson Sherry Memorial Poetry Reading and Lecture honor the life and work of former University of Chicago student, Pearl Andelson Sherry.

Pearl Andelson Sherry was born on the west side of Chicago in 1899. Despite objections from her father, she attended the University for one year, probably in 1916–1917. During that time, Pearl Sherry met a group of writers and poets involved in the Poetry Club, including Ivor Winters, Janet Lewis, and John Toigo; she remained friends with the members of the Poetry Club for the rest of her life. This literary circle nurtured Pearl Sherry’s own aspirations as a writer, and she began her writing career working at Poetry magazine with Harriet Monroe. Her first book of poetry, Fringe, was published in 1923. Her poetry, fiction, and reviews appeared in many periodicals, including Dial, Poetry, New Republic, Chelsea, and the Southern Review. Pearl Sherry continued to write and publish poetry until shortly before she died in 1996.

Established in 1997 through a gift from the Sherry Family, the Pearl Andelson Sherry Memorial Fund annually brings a major contemporary poet to the University of Chicago to work with students and to present the Pearl Andelson Sherry Memorial Poetry Reading and Lecture.

Past Sherry Poets

SPRING 2017 Ishion Hutchinson, Ed Roberson, Patricia Smith (part of the Centennial Brooks Conference)

SPRING 2016 Fred Moten

SPRING 2015 Lisa Robertson

SPRING 2014 Susan Wheeler

AUTUMN 2012 Ann Lauterbach

WINTER 2012 Rosmarie and Keith Waldrop

SPRING 2011 Lyn Hejinian

WINTER 2010 Mark Strand

WINTER 2009 Carl Phillips

AUTUMN 2007 Susan Howe

AUTUMN 2006 Michael Palmer

AUTUMN 2005 Jim Powell

AUTUMN 2004 Allen Grossman

SPRING 2004 Mark Doty

SPRING 2003 Campbell McGrath 

SPRING 2003 Kenneth Field

SPRING 2001 Alane Rollings

SPRING 2000 Eleanor Wilner

SPRING 1999 David Wojahn

SPRING 1998 Anne Winters