A Conversation with Derik Smith and Kaylyn ‘Kay’ Wright
March 15 • 4-5 p.m. PST
Zoom link: https://pitzer.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_E3WMGSX6ShicAI39omRoBg
Derik Smith is a professor in the Department of Literature at Claremont McKenna College, and he is chair of the Intercollegiate Department of Africana Studies at the Claremont Colleges. His work focuses on American literary culture, with a particular interest in poetry. His current scholarship addresses African American poetry and intellectual history, as well as the connection between critical race studies and the Baha’i Faith. Smith also teaches courses in and about American prisons. His work has appeared in many publications, and he is the author of the recent book, Robert Hayden In Verse: New Histories of African American Poetry and the Black Arts Era, which was awarded the 2019 book of the year prize by the College Language Association. In 2020, he was selected by the CMC student body to receive the Glenn R. Huntoon Award for Superior Teaching and was the recipient of the Claremont Colleges Diversity Teaching Award.
Kaylyn ‘Kay’ Wright is currently a senior at Pitzer College and will be graduating this May as a Psychology major. During his time at the 5Cs, he founded the student-run record label Live Your Best Life (LYBL) Records as a sophomore. LYBL went on to win the Pitzer Leadership Award for Intercultural Understanding in 2020. In the same year, they also received the Racial Justice Initiative Award for their work with local high school students in the Inland Empire through the LYBL Youth program. Kay also studied abroad in Ecuador in Spring 2019, where he dedicated his time to studying Hip-Hop culture in Quito. For the past year, Kay has been an intern for the non-profit organization Street Poets Inc., which works with incarcerated youth and high schools using poetry and music as a healing tool.