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

Mar 23

Zell Visiting Writers Series: Poet Wendy S. Walters 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.

Wendy S. Walters is a Creative Capital Awardee in literary nonfiction and the author of a book of prose, Multiply/Divide: On the American Real and Surreal (Sarabande Books, 2015), named a best book of the year by Buzzfeed, Flavorwire, Literary Hub, The Root, Huffington Post, and others. She is also the author of two books of poems, Troy, Michigan (Futurepoem, 2014) and Longer I Wait, More You Love Me. Her work has been published in BOMB, The Yale Review, The Iowa Review, Lapham’s Quarterly, Full Bleed, and Harper’s, among many others. Her current projects address intersections between writing and design. climate change and its reverberations, class and racial disquietude in the industrial Midwest, and organic forms in the essay. 

A recipient of fellowships from NYFA, the Ford Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institute, she has a broad history of engagements with writing in and about performative contexts. She was artist-in-residence at BRIClab in Brooklyn, where she worked on developing the book for the opera, Golden Motors with Derek Bermel. Their lyrical work has been performed widely, including at Carnegie Hall, Joe’s Pub, Louisiana Museum for Moderne Kunst in Denmark, The Institute for Advanced Study, and the Pittsburgh Symphony. In a sustained collaboration with curator Elyse Nelson, Walters co-curated the exhibition, Fictions of Emancipation: Carpeaux Recast, at The Met, on view from March 10, 2022 to March 5, 2023. It is the first exhibition at The Met to examine Western sculpture in relation to the histories of transatlantic slavery, colonialism, and empire. Together they have edited a collection of essays as a companion to the show, titled Fictions of Emancipation: Reconsidering Carpeaux’s Why Born Enslaved! (The Met/Yale University Press). 

Walters holds a MFA/PHD in Poetry and Literature from Cornell University, and is the former Associate Dean of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons, The New School. Currently she serves as Director of the Nonfiction Concentration and Associate Professor of Nonfiction in the Writing Program of the School of the Arts at Columbia 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