All events are free and take place at UMMA unless otherwise noted.

Dec 8

Zell Visiting Writers Series: Poet in Residence Fred Moten Reading and Q&A

All events will be held in a hybrid format (i.e., both in person and over Zoom). Zoom attendees may login to all Zell Visiting Writers Series events via the usual link (with no pre-registration needed):  All events will include live, automatic captioning for Zoom attendees.

Fred Moten is Professor of Performance Studies and Comparative Literature at New York University. He is concerned social movement, aesthetic experiment and black study and has written a number of books of poetry and criticism, including In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (University of Minnesota Press, 2003); Hughson's Tavern (Leon Works, 2009); B. Jenkins (Duke University Press, 2010); The Feel Trio (Letter Machine Editions, 2014); The Little Edges (Wesleyan University Press, 2015); The Service Porch (Letter Machine Editions, 2016); consent not to be a single being (Duke University Press, 2017, 2018); and All That Beauty (Letter Machine Editions, 2019). 

In 2014, The Feel Trio was a poetry finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was winner of the California Book Award. In 2016, The Little Edges was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. That year he was also awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Stephen E. Henderson Award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry by the African American Literature and Culture Society. In 2018 Moten was received the inaugural Roy Lichtenstein Award of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ and was named a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow. In 2019, Black and Blur, the first volume of consent not to be a single being, was awarded honorable mention for the William Sanders Scarborough Prize by the Modern Language Association; the second volume, Stolen Life, was a finalist for the Poetry Foundation’s Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism; and All That Beauty was named one of the best poetry books of the year by The New York Times. In 2020, Black and Blur received the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in Memory of Newton Arvin. In the same year, Moten was named a Macarthur Fellow. 

Moten is engaged in ongoing collaborations with theorist Stefano Harney, critic Laura Harris, artist Wu Tsang and musicians Gerald Cleaver and Brandon Lopez. With Harney, he is co-author of The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study (Minor Compositions/Autonomedia, 2013), A Poetics of the Undercommons (Sputnik and Fizzle, 2016) and All Incomplete (Minor Compositions/Autonomedia, 2021); and with Tsang, Who touched me? (If I Can't Dance, I Don't Want to be Part of Your Revolution, 2016). With Harris, he co-operates Trespassage, a shared study space on the outskirts of New York City. Moten is a member of Tsang’s performance/cinema troupe Moved By the Motion, whose work been shown or performed at venues and for institutions including If I Can't Dance I Don't Want To Be A Part of Your Revolution, Amsterdam; Tate Modern, London; and the New Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among many other venues. The album Fred Moten, Brandon Lopez, Gerald Cleaver was released by Reading Group Records in 2022. 

Moten has also collaborated with many other artists, artist collectives and study groups including the Anti-colonial Machine, Arika, Exodus Reading Group, Gerald Cleaver & Brandon Lopez, Andrea Geyer, Renee Gladman, Renée Green, the Institute for Physical Sociality, Arthur Jafa, Jennie C. Jones, George Lewis, Le Mardi Gras Listening Collective, MPA, William Parker, Ultra-red, James Gordon Williams, Suné Woods and Fernando Zalamea. He has served on the editorial boards of Callaloo, Discourse, American Quarterly, and Social Text; as a member of the Critical Theory Institute at the University of California, Irvine; on the board of directors of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, City University of New York; and on the advisory board of Issues in Critical Investigation, Vanderbilt University.

The Zell Visiting Writers Series is a reading series presented by the Helen Zell Writers’ Program in partnership with the University of Michigan Museum of Art, with support from the Department of English Language & Literature, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and Janey Lack.

ZVWS events are free and open to the public. For additional information, questions, or accommodations needs, please contact Program Coordinator Michaela Kotziers at