An interdisciplinary artists salon, ISU’s @Salon welcomes artists and arts enthusiasts for an afternoon of conversation, poetry, music, and visual art.

In addition to featuring renowned local and regional artists, @Salon includes presentations and discussions of works-in-progress using Liz Lerman’s Format for Critical Response—a format for feedback that affords the artist an active role in the dialogue.





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Duriel E. Harris is a poet, performer, and sound artist. She is author of three print volumes of poetry, including her most recent, No Dictionary of a Living Tongue (Nightboat, 2017), Drag (2003) and Amnesiac: Poems (2010). Multi-genre works include her one-woman theatrical performance Thingification, as well as Speleology (2011), a video collaboration with artist Scott Rankin.  Recent and upcoming appearances include performances at the Lake Forest College Allan L. Carr Theatre, the Chicago Jazz Festival (with Douglas Ewart & Inventions), the Greenhouse Theater (Chicago), the Naropa Capitalocene, The Votive Poetics Workshop (New Zealand), and Festival Internacional de Poesía de La Habana (Cuba).

Cofounder of the avant garde poetry/performance trio The Black Took Collective, Harris has been a MacDowell and Millay Colony fellow and has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, the Cave Canem Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Her work has appeared in numerous venues, including BAXMandorlaThe &Now Awards, Of Poetry & Protest, PloughsharesTroubling the Line, and The Best of Fence; and her compositions have been translated into Polish, German, and Spanish. Harris earned degrees in Literature from Yale University and NYU, and a PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago Program for Writers.

The 2018 Offen Poet, Harris is an associate professor of English in the graduate creative writing program at Illinois State University and the Editor of Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora.



Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process is a widely recognized method that nurtures the development of artistic works-in-progress through a four-step method for facilitated group feedback that affords the artist an active role in the dialogue.

The Process engages participants in three roles:

The artist offers a work-in-progress for review and is prepared to question that work in a dialogue with others; responders, committed to the artist’s intent to make excellent work, offer reactions to the work in a dialogue with the artist; and the facilitator initiates each step, keeps the process on track, and works to help the artist and responders use the Process to frame useful questions and responses.

After the presentation of artistic work, the facilitator leads the artist and responders through four steps:

  • Statements of Meaning
  • Artist as Questioner
  • Neutral Questions
  • Permissioned Opinions



Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora

The ISU Department of English

The Department of English at Illinois State University is dedicated to providing an environment that facilitates the individual and communal work—creative, intellectual, administrative, and outreach—of our faculty, staff, and students. Our vision is guided by the University mission statement, Educating Illinois, and includes the following:

  • Create a work environment that values all members as people and fosters positive morale and transparency where possible, acknowledges and honors the professionalism of all faculty, staff, and graduate assistants in our various roles, and recognizes the interdependence of our work through informal and formal discourse;
  • Promote innovative and dynamic pedagogical research, scholarship, and practice in the classroom and the curriculum;
  • Support—through reassigned time and co-teaching opportunities—interdisciplinary research and publication, while continuing to value the forms of research and publication that are appropriate to a particular field;
  • Continue to articulate and revise a multi-dimensional understanding of English Studies that responds to the changing needs of our students, the field, and the world;
  • Maintain our commitment to providing students with a learning environment and community that supports growth as a individual, professional, and citizen;
  • Strengthen diversity in the composition of our faculty, students, and curricular and pedagogical approaches through individual, programmatic, and departmental action; and
  • Secure the facilities and resources required to support excellence in scholarship, teaching, and research.

The ISU Creative Writing Program

Situated in a department that emphasizes interdisciplinarity, the Creative Writing Program at Illinois State University has a 10 distinguished and national reputation for encouraging alternative and hybrid forms of writing while emphasizing the study of theory and creative writing pedagogy. We are a program that respects and encourages innovation. We offer both undergraduate and graduate courses. Our graduate program offers emphases in creative writing at both the MA and PhD levels and attracts students from all over the world.

The ISU Women’s & Gender Studies Program

The ISU Ethnic Studies Program

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