Evie Shockley

PennSound Podcast #77

Evie Shockley reading at the Kelly Writers House


In this PennSound podcast, poet Evie Shockley sits down in the Wexler Studio at the Kelly Writers House for an interview about her work with Al Filreis, Tyrone Williams, Aldon Nielson, and William J. Harris. The four take turns asking Shockley questions about her work, and Shockley reads several of her poems.

In this wide-ranging conversation, Shockley, Filreis, Williams, Nielson, and Harris discuss the scope and trajectory of Shockley’s poetry, from her 2011 book the new black, to her more recent books semiautomatic (2017) and suddenly we (2023). Shockley talks about the influences of various poets on her work, including Amiri Baraka, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Harryette Mullen, among others.

Shockley visited the Writers House on November 30, 2023, as part of a series of events, which included a reading alongside Simone White, a recording of an episode of PoemTalk (which will be released as the podcast’s 200th episode), and this interview. 

Evie Shockley was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, and earned a BA at Northwestern University, a JD at the University of Michigan, and a PhD in English literature at Duke University. She is the author of six collections of poetry, including suddenly we (2023), semiautomatic (2017), and the new black (2011).  She is also the author of the critical volume Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry (2011). Shockley is the Zora Neale Hurston Distinguished Professor of English at Rutgers University.