Sundress Academy for the Arts Presents September Reading Series

Knoxville, TN—The Sundress Academy for the Arts is pleased to announce the guests for the September installment of our reading series, poets Liz Chang and Maya Williams. Join us on Thursday, September 21st  at Pretentious Beer Co. from 7:00-9:00 PM for a reading followed by an open mic hosted by Shlagha Borah. Sign-up for the open mic begins at 7PM sharp and is limited to 10-12 readers.

Photo of Liz Chang

Liz Chang’s poetry has recently appeared in Verse Daily, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Rock & Sling, Exit 7, Breakwater Review and Stoneboat Literary Journal, among others. Chang was 2012 Montgomery County Poet Laureate and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her fourth published collection, Museum of Things, is available now from Finishing Line Press. Chang’s translation of Claude de Burine’s poetry is anthologized in Paris in Our View from l’Association des Amis de Shakespeare & Company. She is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Moravian University.

Photo of Maya Williams

Maya Williams (ey/they/she) is a Black multiracial nonbinary suicide survivor who is currently the poet laureate of Portland, Maine. Eir debut collection Judas & Suicide was released in May 2023 by Game Over Books; eir second collection Refused a Second Date will be released in October 2023 by Harbor Editions. Judas & Suicide was selected as a finalist for the New England Book Award in July 2023. Maya was one of three artists of color selected to represent Maine in The Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America series in 2020. Maya was also selected as one of The Advocate’s Champions of Pride in 2022. You can follow more of their work at

This event is brought to you in part by a grant provided by the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry. Find out about the important work they do here.

Our community partner for September iis the YWCA Victim Advocacy Program. Founded in 1988, the YWCA Victim Advocacy Program (VAP) is the only community-based non-shelter program in Knox County, the only program with advocates in both criminal and civil courts, and the only program with bilingual/bicultural advocates (Spanish, English, Arabic, and French). The YWCA is an onsite partner at the Knoxville Family Justice Center. YWCA advocates are stationed at the Family Justice Center, in court, and out in the community. In 2015, the YWCA expanded services to offer community based advocacy in Anderson County. In 2018, services expanded to Roane and Loudon counties.

YWCA offers culturally-specific advocates for immigrant, refugee, LGBTQ+, Latinx, and African-American populations, as well as support groups in English, Spanish, and Arabic to women who have experienced domestic violence and to female family members. Although every domestic violence situation is different, victims/survivors may find it beneficial to talk about their feelings with others who are going through similar experiences. Led by trained facilitators, confidential support groups meet weekly and address a variety of issues related to domestic violence in a caring, nurturing environment. Find out more about YWCA’s Victim Advocacy Program here!

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