Poet Wins SUNY-Wide Award

Evan Goldstein '17

Evan GoldsteinEvan Goldstein ’17, who journeyed solo across the country to explore and document America last summer, has won the prestigious Patricia Kerr Ross Award for his poetry, photography and efforts for social justice.

The SUNY-wide honor carries a $1,000 award, is administered by the New York Foundation on the Arts, and is intended to bridge the gap for entry into a professional career in the creative arts.

The foundation has historically supported innovated, thoughtful artists early on in their careers, and I hope this award will allow me to one day be able to count myself among them,” says Goldstein.

Goldstein is a published poet, and in 2016 was the James Houston ’80 Ambassador in Innovation. He used the ambassadorship opportunity to spend six weeks on the road, creating a snapshot of America in the spirit of other photographers in the 1950s. His first-person essay appeared in the latest issue of the Scene. 

He also started Guerilla, a new on-campus art group, which aims to put poetry in public spaces and will work with migrant workers, ethnographic interviews and workshops to make poetry from life stories, says Goldstein.

Evan's poem, below, was published in the Geneseo literary magazine, Gandy Dancer:

At Midnight in Corktown, a Family Lights Fireworks

                                                                   Detroit, MI
In the overgrown alley between
              apartment buildings you
              called to my back
             “we are good people.”
I am sorry I will forget your name. The light
               of fireworks left over
               from Independence Day
                       blisters green and red
the gauzy midnight sky above motor city
            casino firelight above the dim matrix
                       of streets of churches and bars. The light
                               led me here to explain
to myself I think often
               of poor in cities in this
               city even streetlights
               fled. Like the other men
               with sleek cameras who look
in at you behind the viewfinder
               our eyes cross but don’t meet.
                        Much later I say I saw you lean
            back to stare above the plywood windows
                                        at the last explosion’s smoke
          phosphorous glow
          in your eyes still and mine
          when I blink
          at your son posing close
                             to the lens repeating
               his ABCs out of order
grandmother in her chair
on the stoop, quiet

but for her huge laughter.

In the space after the spectacle
of gunpowder someone said weary
               they will not vote in the election and did I   
come here like the rest
to look at the poor
in poor cities they all talk
about on cable news.
              The other tourists in the bar
later said the open spaces
in this city so beautiful and green.
Downtown office towers illuminate
the sky hanging gaunt over us all.