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K-State Today

April 3, 2017



Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor to present 'Writing the 'Not Me': Drama and Poetry in Qualitative Inquiry'

By Meaghan Cochrane

The K-State Qualitative Research Student Organization, an official student organization, will host Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor on campus. Cahnmann-Taylor will present "Writing the 'Not Me': Drama and Poetry in Qualitative Inquiry" from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, in 21 Bluemont Hall.

Abstract: When we think of "portraits" we often think of paintings, such as the "Mona Lisa" or Picasso's "Blue Man with Guitar." But most literary artists and qualitative researchers also spend creative time meditating on others' lives as they loom larger than the individuals themselves and become symbolic of a complicated interrelated life. Keats' term "negative capability," referred to the poet's ability to suspend one's ego and imagine others from the inside out.

In this talk, Cahnmann-Taylor will share her award-winning ethnographic poetry and will review the affordances, risks, and ethics of writing in the "not me" voice. Sharing examples of persona poems and dramatic monologues, she will discuss how these forms may shape greater connections to the diversity of what it means to be human as well as connections to animal, vegetable and mineral worlds. Ethnographic techniques of observation and interview will be explored to gain access to others' stories, vocabularies and vernaculars with respect and aesthetic care. Cahnmann-Taylor also will discuss the value of portraiture in relating qualitative and arts-based inquiry findings to wide, public audiences within and outside the academy.

Cahnmann-Taylor is author of the newly-released book of poems, "Imperfect Tense," Whitepoint Press, 2016. The winner of Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prizes, a Leeway Poetry Grant and a Fulbright award, she has co-authored two books, "Teachers Act Up: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities Through Theatre" and "Arts-Based Research in Education." Professor of TESOL and world language education at the University of Georgia, she judges the annual anthropology and humanism poetry contest and is the editor of the ethnographic poetry section. In October 2015 Cahnmann-Taylor won the Beckman Award given to professors who inspire.

Cahnmann-Taylor's areas of expertise include bilingual education, world language education, Spanish, poetry, arts-based research methodologies and TESOL. Her research interests include Spanish second language acquisition, bilingual education policy and practice, arts-based research methodologies, arts-based language education, poetic inquiry and theatre of the oppressed.

Among other accomplishments at the University of Georgia, she's been a Fulbright Scholar and led a $1 million federal grant program to increase Georgia's bilingual education by recruiting bilingual adults to teach. Her numerous poems, essays and articles about language learning have appeared in the Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, Women's Quarterly Review, Cream City Review, Barrow Street, Puerto Del Sol, Mom Egg, Anthropology and Humanism, Language Arts, TESOL Journal, and many other literary and scholarly homes.

She publishes "Misha's Poetry Cast" — featuring poets on poetry and language education — and runs the annual Seat in the Shade poetry series in Athens, Georgia.

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