Episode 16: Bryan Byrdlong | Helen Zell Writers' Program, University of Michigan

Bryan Byrdlong of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan

How is the zombie of Haitian folklore a poetic metaphor for how society treats Blackness? Bryan Byrdlong of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan tells Jared about his project on the traditional and modern conceptualization of zombies, whether poetry can transcend fake news, and how his MFA program gave him an inner editorial voice.

Bryan Byrdlong is a Black poet from Chicago, Illinois. In high school, he was part of Chicago’s Louder than a Bomb poetry slam competition. He graduated from Vanderbilt University where he received an undergraduate English/Creative Writing degree and was the co-recipient of the Merrill Moore Award for Poetry upon graduation. He has been published in the Nashville Review, Heavy Feather Review, and Pleiades Magazine. Most recently, he received the Gregory Djanaikian Scholarship from The Adroit Journal. He is a graduate of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan and a current Zell Fellow. You can find him on Twitter @BByrdlong.

Mentions:

· Rudy Eugene, the subject of Bryan’s poem “Black Monday”
· “The Tragic, Forgotten History of Zombies” by Mike Mariani
· Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
· Michael Brown, unarmed Black teenager killed by white police officer
· White Zombie, 1932 film
· Incendiary Art by Patricia Smith
· A. Van Jordan, Professor, University of Michigan
· Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
· Langston Hughes, poet
· Frank O’Hara, poet
· Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky
· Shane McCrae, poet
· "The Illusion of Prominence: An Interview with Shane McCrae" by Bryan Byrdlong
· InsideOut, Detroit youth literary arts non-profit
· MQR Mixtape

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