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UMD Selects Finney’s "Head Off & Split" as 2015-2016 First Year Book

June 22, 2015

Kristen Seabolt 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Office of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Maryland has selected “Head Off & Split,” by Nikky Finney as the 2015-2016 First Year Book.  

The First Year Book is selected each year to provide first-year students, faculty and staff a shared intellectual experience. UMD selects a featured book that provides an opportunity for the university community to look at a topic, issue or experience from different perspectives, from the sciences to the humanities and across diverse historical backgrounds, cultures, and ideologies.

The 2015-2016 First Year Book, “Head Off & Split,” is written by Nikky Finney, winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Poetry. Finney, described as “one of the most eloquent, urgent, fearless and necessary poets writing in America today,” takes the reader from the bus seat of Rosa Parks to the piano bench of Condoleezza Rice, into the mind of a U.S. President and onto the roof where a family has been stranded by Hurricane Katrina.  This book addresses important moments in American history in a way that challenges the reader to look deeply at race and identity from the past and to the present.  

In addition to the book, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland commissioned a new poem, “The Battle of and for the Black Face Boy,” from Nikky Finney. These two works, powerfully interconnected, delve deeply into American heritage and draw a full circle back to the important issues faced today. 

Faculty and staff may pick up the book in 2110 Marie Mount Hall from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday – Friday. Any inquiries about the book or program collaboration during the 2015-2016 academic year can be directed to 301-405-9980 or firstyearbook@umd.edu.  For more information on the First Year Book program, visit www.fyb.umd.edu.