Nikky Finney & Tomeka Reid
Nikky Finney was born in Conway, South Carolina and raised in Sumter. For 21 years she taught poetry and fiction in Lexington. In 2013 she became Professor Emeritus at the University of Kentucky and accepted the John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Creative Writing and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina. Her 2011 collection, Head Off & Split, won the National Book Award for Poetry. Her National Book Award acceptance speech has become a thing of legend, described by the 2011 NBA host, John Lithgow, as “the best acceptance speech ever—for anything.”
Described as “a new jazz power source” by the New York Times, cellist and composer Tomeka Reid has emerged as one of the most original, versatile, and curious musicians in Chicago’s bustling jazz and improvised music community—a first-call collaborator for legends and visionaries Nicole Mitchell, Anthony Brazton, and Roscoe Mitchell. Reid is the Darius Milhaud chair in composition at Mills College.
At Big Ears, Finney and Reid offer a collaborative performance of poetry and music, born of their shared histories and mutual admiration.