Roosevelt Poetry Reading: Rootedness

Roosevelt Poetry Reading: Rootedness

Five poets read selected works and participate in a moderated discussion about worlds reinvented and belonging reimagined.

This event is part of the Roosevelt Poetry Readings at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Roosevelt Poetry Readings are made possible by a donation to help bring poets of recognized stature to the Institute.


  • Elisa Biagini, poet and lecturer of writing, New York University Florence
  • Irène Gayraud, assistant professor of comparative literature, Sorbonne Université
  • Shara McCallum, liberal arts professor of English, Pennsylvania State University
  • Evie Shockley, 2018–2019 fellow, Radcliffe Institute, and associate professor of English, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
  • Moderator: Elisa (Lisa) New, creator and host, Poetry in America; director, Verse Video Education; and the Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature, Harvard University

Free and open to the public.



Elisa (Lisa) New is the creator and host of Poetry in America, the director of Verse Video Education, and the Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard University, where she teaches courses in American literature from the Puritans through the present day.

Since 2013, New has been producing educational materials on American poetry for tens of thousands of global learners of all ages. New created Poetry in America, a public television series and educational initiative, to encourage engagement with American poetry beyond academic audiences. Guest interpreters have included Shaquille O’Neal, Bono, Cynthia Nixon, Joe Biden, Herbie Hancock, Elena Kagan, Robert Pinsky, Sonia Sanchez, Bill Clinton, John McCain, Li-Young Lee, Samantha Power, exonerated prisoners, clergy members, pickup basketball players, young campers at a wildlife preserve, and many more.

New is the author of The Regenerate Lyric: Theology and Innovation in American Poetry (Cambridge University Press, 1992); The Line’s Eye: Poetic Experience, American Sight (Harvard University Press, 1999); Jacob’s Cane: A Jewish Family’s Journey from the Four Lands of Lithuania to the Ports of London and Baltimore: A Memoir in Five Generations (Basic Books, 2009); and New England Beyond Criticism: In Defense of America’s First Literature (Wiley Blackwell, 2014).


Evie Shockley is the author of semiautomatic (2017), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the LA Times Book Prize, and winner of the 2018 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. She has published four other collections of poetry—including the new black (2011), which won the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in 2012—and a critical study, Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry (2011). Her honors also include the 2015 Stephen Henderson Award and the 2012 Holmes National Poetry Prize. She is spending 2018–2019 as a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Shockley is a professor of English at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

Elisa Biagini lives in Florence, after having taught and studied in the US for several years. Her poems have been published in Italian and American reviews and anthologies. She has published seven poetry collections—some bilingual—including L’Ospite (Einaudi, 2004); Fiato. parole per musica (Edizionidif, 2006); Nel Bosco (Einaudi, 2007); Da una crepa (Einaudi, 2014); and The Guest in the Wood (Chelsea Editions). Her poems have been translated into many languages. She teaches writing at NYU–Florence.

From Jamaica, Shara McCallum is the author of five books of poetry, including Madwoman, winner of the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Poetry and the 2018 Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize. Her work has been translated into several languages and has led to a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the US Library of Congress and a Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. McCallum is an English professor at Penn State.

Born in Sète, France, in 1984, Irène Gayraud has published three books of poetry: à distance de souffle, l’air (Éditions du Petit Pois, 2014), Voltes (Al Manar, 2016), and Point d’eau (Éditions du Petit Véhicule, 2017). She has two books forthcoming: the poetry collection Téphra (Al Manar Editions), and her first novel, Le livre des incompris (Maurice Nadeau Editions). Her study of music has led her to explore and experience the relationship between music and poetry, and to collaborate with several composers. She is an assistant professor of comparative literature at Sorbonne Université.