MLK 2019 Keynote Speaker Announcement: Marcus Wicker

Dear Champlain College Community,

It is my pleasure to announce Marcus Wicker as the keynote speaker for Champlain College’s 2019 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.

Marcus Wicker is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, The Missouri Review’s Miller Audio Prize, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem, and the Fine Arts Work Center. His first collection Maybe the Saddest Thing (Harper Perennial), a National Poetry Series winner, was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. Wicker’s poems have appeared in The Nation, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Oxford American, and Boston Review. His second book, Silencer—also an Image Award finalist—was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017 and won the Society of Midland Authors Award, as well as the Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for New Voices. Marcus teaches in the MFA program at the University of Memphis, and he is the poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review.

Marcus Wicker will connect with different stakeholders in a variety of events during his visit. His College visit will culminate in a public Keynote address on Monday, January 21st at 3:30 pm in the Champlain Room. The presentation is a hybrid of poetry reading and discussion of the influence of Langston Hughes’ work – specifically “A Dream Deferred” – on Dr. King’s writing and oratory. Wicker will also highlight the ways in which the act of writing poetry can be used as a powerful tool for nonviolent protest and, more than that, a timeless vessel for hope.

This year’s College celebration is sponsored by the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs. The events are being organized in partnership with the Student Affairs Diversity, Community and Inclusion team, the Let Us Teach committee, the MLK Student Committee and other college departments.

To learn more about this and other MLK celebration events, visit The website will continue to be updated until the week of the events. Please visit the website in January for event live streaming information.

Individuals in need of accommodations should email accessibility@champlain.eduFor more information about this event, please email

Reese C. Kelly, Ph.D.
Pronouns: He/Him/His | Pronounced: rees KEH-lee
Assistant Vice President of Diversity, Community and Inclusion