Featured Contributors

  Hazel V. Carby is the Charles C. and Dorothea S. Dilley Professor of African American Studies and Professor of American Studies at Yale University. In addition to numerous influential essays, she is author of Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist (1987); Race Men: The Body and Soul of Race, Nation and Masculinity (1998), which had its genesis as The W. E. B.
Du Bois Lectures at Harvard University; and Cultures in Babylon: Black Britain and African America (1999), a collection of her writings over the past 20 years. In the 1970s Hazel Carby was a high school English teacher and anti-racist activist in East London. A graduate of Birmingham University (1984) and a former professor at Wesleyan University, Professor Carby teaches courses on diasporic literature, representations of the black female body and the politics of race and sex in science fiction. She is currently writing Child of Empire: Race and Gender in Post-WWII Britain. She lives in Guilford, CT with her husband Michael Denning.

Francis Davis has been called one of the savviest and most admired jazz critics of our time. A columnist for the Village Voice and a Contributing Editor of the Atlantic Monthly, Davis also has written on music and popular culture for the New York Times Book Review, the Nation, and the New Yorker (among others). He is the author of numerous books, including Outcats (1990), The History of the  
Blues (1995), a reconsideration of the blues in relation to race; Bebop and Nothing-ness (1996), an overview of the jazz and pop scenes exploring the bebop legacy; Afterglow: A Last Conversation with Pauline Kael (2002), a biography of the late film critic; Jazz and Its Discontents (2004), a reader; and his latest publication, Coltrane Biography (2005). Francis Davis has taught a course on jazz and blues in the former Folklore and Folklife Department at the University of Pennsylvania and he has received many awards, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a Pew Fellowship for the Arts, and three ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards. Francis Davis lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Terry Gross of National Public Radio.

  Kay Ryan is a contemporary poet who adheres to the modernist ideal of impersonality more strictly than most modernists did. She objects to "personality horning in on the real question: the words on the page." Ryan's praise for another poet is also an apt description of her own work: "How does smart sound? It isn't the Greek and Latin references. The smartness is a tone, something light—dry—exact and
amused. It makes it a pleasure to listen to her language and thought experiments; they are offered lightly; you are under no emotional obligation to care. Which of course makes it more possible to do so."

Ryan has published six books, and her poetry has been widely represented in distinguished periodicals, including Poetry, the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, the Yale Review, and the Paris Review. She has been awarded the 2004 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Maurice English Poetry Award, and the Union League Poetry Prize, and she has received fellowships from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. She was included on Entertainment Weekly’s 2001 "It List." Kay Ryan was born and educated in California, where she continues to live. She has ridden her bicycle across the United States.

Kay Ryan's reading at MSA Chicago is sponsored by The Poetry Foundation, an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture, and the publisher of Poetry magazine. Founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry established its reputation early by publishing the first important poems of T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, H. D., William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg, and other now-classic authors.

Jackie Allen has been singing jazz in Chicago for 20 years with seven CDs to her credit. Love is Blue (2004), which features original as well as newly arranged compositions by such writers as Alec Wilder and Annie Lennox, reached number eight in national airplay and broke the top fifteen on the Billboard charts. for sales. The Jazz Times Magazine said of The Men in My

 
Life (2003), a collection of pop and jazz from Frank Sinatra to Sting, “There’s only one word to describe it: Wow!” She has recorded two duet CDs with pianist/vocalist Judy Roberts: Autumn Leaves (2001) and the holiday favorite Santa Baby (2002). Her debut album, Never Let Me Go (1994), remained on the national charts for 13 weeks. Jackie appears regularly at such Chicago hot spots as the Jazz Showcase, Andy's, and the Green Mill, and she has performed at the Detroit, Ravinia and Chicago jazz festivals as well as in Europe. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she has recently been appointed to the faculty of the Chicago Musical College at Roosevelt University. Jackie lives in Muncie, IN with her husband, bassist and composer Hans Sturm, and their son, Wolfgang.

Jackie Allen's performance at MSA Chicago is sponsored by Northwestern University Press.