A photo of Kaveh Akbar in black and white

An Evening of Poetry and Spirituality with Kaveh Akbar

  • Event Date: Friday, April 30, 2021
  • Time: 7:00 pm (CDT)
  • Location: Online
  • Cost: Free, registration required

Poet Kaveh Akbar's work is exciting, beautiful, often disorienting, and urgent. Reflected in his poems are the many facets of his identity—he is Iranian-American, largely Midwestern, queer, Muslim, and in recovery. He is thereby situated in the new wave of poets drawing not only on technical mastery, but also on the immediacy of their lived experiences to connect with new audiences for linguistically-charged art.

Free, but registration is required.

Registration form

Sponsored by the Center for Advanced Study. Co-sponsor, Spurlock Museum of World Cultures. Hosted by History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library.

In conjunction with: Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Creative Writing Program, Department of Asian American Studies, Department of Comparative and World Literatures, Department of English, Department of Gender and Women's Studies, Department of Linguistics, Department of Religion, Humanities Research Institute, Illini Union, Literature and Languages Library, Program in Less Commonly Taught Languages, Spurlock Museum, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, University Library, University YMCA, Urbana Arts and Culture Program, Urbana Free Library

Kaveh Akbar

Assistant Professor of English
Purdue University

Akbar’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The New Republic, Best American Poetry, The New York Times, and elsewhere. His first book, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, was published by Alice James Books in the U.S. and Penguin in the U.K. in 2017. He is also the author of a chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic (Sibling Rivalry, 2017).

The recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the Levis Reading Prize, and a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, Akbar is the founding editor of Divedapper, a home for interviews with major voices in contemporary poetry.

Born in Tehran, Iran, he teaches at Purdue University and in the low-residency MFA programs at Randolph College and Warren Wilson.

Akbar is an unlikely prophet—hilarious and irreverent and self-deprecating. Yet even nonbelievers will travel the circles of faith and hellscape, love and rebuke, through his captivating voice. He is incapable of setting down a line that’s less than luminous.Mary Karr

Kaveh Akbar is the sorcerer’s sorcerer... Profound and singular, smart and sad and funny, but most of all truth’s beauty and beauty’s truth sung. ... We need Kaveh Akbar.Tommy Orange

There is much that can be said about Kaveh Akbar’s commitment to a sprawling and touchable image, or a line that breaks at the perfect moment. Hanif Abdurraqib

Please note that this program does NOT take place at the Spurlock Museum.
Add Event to CalendarAdd to Calendar


For further information on this event, contact Katya Reno at or (217) 244-8483

To request disability-related accommodations for this event, please contact Brian Cudiamat at or (217) 244-5586.