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Poet Ladan Osman to visit MSUM

Writer's Block | September 25th, 2015

The Tom McGrath Visiting Writers Series will be hosting a reading with poet Ladan Osman on the Library Porch at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Starting at 4:30 p.m., on Sept. 29, this event will be free and open to the public.

Osman was born in Somalia and earned a BA at Otterbein University and an MFA at the University of Texas at Austin’s Michener Center for Writers. Her poetry has appeared in multiple literary journals, as well as former Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s syndicated newspaper column, “American Life in Poetry.” Osman currently lives in Chicago and works as a contributing editor for The Offing, a magazine located in Los Angeles.

Osman’s poetry chapbook, “Ordinary Heaven,” was published in 2014 by Slapering Hol Press, and later featured in a boxed set entitled “Seven New Generation African Poets.”

This chapbook was prefaced by Ted Kooser, who stated, “Osman is a worldly and acutely sensitive writer who knows how to reach right through the sequined veil of fashion and put her hand squarely on the reader’s heart, with frank and candid expression, with unaffected wonder.”

Her full-length poetry collection, “The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony,” was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2015 and won the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets.

In the preface, fellow African-American poet Kwame Dawes declared that Osman “writes out of a passion for language, out of a compelling pleasure and challenge in the potential of the voice to humanize us, or perhaps even better, to affirm our humanity. Osman is a warrior poet … especially gifted and disciplined about her craft, her technical facility with the poem.”

Common themes of Osman’s poetry include religion and spirituality, Somali and Muslim heritage, and the trials of immigrants, particularly women of color. Her influences include Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, Sudanese author Tayeb Salih, and American poet, author and filmmaker Sherman Alexie.


Copies of both books will be available for purchase at the reading.

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