In 2021 the Washington University Libraries acquired the literary papers of poet, translator, and Washington University alumnus Aaron Coleman. To commemorate the opening of the papers to researchers, this exhibition in the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections Reading Room in Olin Library presents highlights from the collection.
In addition, the University Libraries hosted a reading by Coleman on April 3, 2023, and a conversation with Aaron Coleman on April 4, 2023. A digital exhibition of Wherein I Am is also available.
The Wherein I Am exhibition is curated by PhD Student in Comparative Literature Sarah Maria Medina. All items on display are from the Aaron Coleman Papers.
Exploring the Exhibition
The MFA Years
This case focuses on Coleman´s activities while in the Writers Program at Washington University from 2013 to 2015 when he received his poetry MFA, as well as his third-year fellowship in the program for the 2015-16 academic year. During this span of time, Coleman worked extensively with Professor Mary Jo Bang and Professor Carl Phillips, and he connected with a community of multidisciplinary artists, activists, and scholars across the St. Louis region.
The PhD Years
This case features some of Coleman’s numerous lines of inquiry during his PhD years in the International Writers track of Comparative Literature from 2016 to 2021. Examples include heavily annotated drafts and notes toward round tables, readings, and speeches during his study of poetry and translation of the African Diaspora in the Americas.
Drafts, Collaborations, and Influences
This case includes a hand-drawn tree by Coleman of his many literary influences, revised poetry drafts, and an example of his collaborations with artists in the St. Louis community, all providing a deeper look at how his multifaceted work takes shape.
Drafts, Publications, and Awards
This case centers on Coleman´s work toward publishing his poetry in the chapbook St. Trigger, the book Threat Come Close, as well as a literary journal, The New York Times Magazine, and an anthology of Black American literature. The case also includes the submission that brought him a 2021 NEA fellowship which has poems from his forthcoming book.
Visiting the Exhibition
The exhibition is available for viewing during Special Collections’ operating hours without an appointment. For more information on accessing Special Collections, please see the Special Collections Research and Access page. If you have any questions regarding the exhibition, please contact the Modern Literature Collection and Manuscripts Curator Joel Minor.