Tag: African-American poetry

Kevin Young Named Poetry Editor at The New Yorker Magazine

Kevin Young (Credit Melanie Dunea/CP)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to nytimes.com, Kevin Young, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has been named the new poetry editor of The New Yorker magazine.

According to wikipedia.org, Young graduated from Harvard College in 1992, held a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University (1992–94), and received his Master of Fine Arts from Brown University. While in Boston and Providence, he was part of the African-American poetry group the Dark Room Collective. He is heavily influenced by the poets Langston Hughes, John Berryman, and Emily Dickinson and by the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Young is an esteemed poet and scholar whose work has been published in The New Yorker dating back to 1999.  His most recent work, “Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015,” made the 2016 National Book Award long list.

Young, 46, will officially take over the post in November, after he takes part in a passing of the torch of sorts: a reading and interview with current The New Yorker poetry editor Paul Muldoon at the New Yorker Festival in the fall.

Alice Walker Pens Beautiful Poem For Late Civil Rights Leader Julian Bond

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 21: Julian Bond poses for a portrait in W
Civil Rights Leader Julian Bond (Source: The Washington Post / Getty)

The death of legendary civil rights leader Julian Bond on August 15th left a community bereft, yet grateful for a life well-lived and legacy that will inspire and inform generations of activists to come.

Author and poet Alice Walker posted a fitting tribute to Bond on her website, remembering the young, passionate activist he was in college and the icon he would become.

It’s definitely worth the read:

Julian Bond 1940-2015

Julian

The first time I sang
We Shall Overcome
Was in a circle
On the lawn of Trevor Arnett Library
At Atlanta University
And by chance
I was holding
Your hand.
We were all so young,
Julian,
And so hopeful
In our solidarity.
I stumbled over some of the words
In the new to me
Song
But you sang solemnly,
Correctly,
Devoutly,
Believing every word
You sang
With your whole
Handsome
Heart.
A friend writes
That you will be buried
At sea
And I nod
Because that is how it felt
Those years so long ago;
That we were so young,
Vulnerable,
Swimming against
An awesome tide of hatred
And despair
Definitely
At sea.

Read the rest of Walker’s powerful and beautiful tribute at AliceWalkersGarden.com.

article via newsone.com

Gregory Pardlo’s ‘Digest’ Wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Gregory Pardlo (Photo:
Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Gregory Pardlo (Photo: poetry foundation.org)

“Digest” by Gregory Pardlo has won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.  The judges cited Pardlo’s “clear-voiced poems that bring readers the news from 21st Century America, rich with thought, ideas and histories public and private.”

Pardlo was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Willingboro, New Jersey. Currently, he is an associate editor for the literary journal Callaloo and a contributing editor for Painted Bride Quarterly. Pardlo’s poems, reviews, and translations have been widely published and are noted for “language simultaneously urban and highbrow… snapshots of a life that is so specific it becomes universal.” He lives in Brooklyn.

To learn more about Pardlo and his work, click here.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

R.I.P. Acclaimed Author and Activist, Dr. Maya Angelou

best-Maya-Angelou-Quotes-sayings-wise-people

Maya Angelou, acclaimed author, poet, professor and civil rights activist, has died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was 86.  Angelou was found by her caretaker this morning, Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines confirmed.

Angelou was set to be honored with the “Beacon of Life Award” at the 2014 Major League Baseball Beacon Award Luncheon on May 30 in Houston, but recently cancelled due to  health problems.  She is survived by her son, author Gus Johnson.

Angelou had a prolific career, published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning more than fifty years. She received dozens of awards and over thirty honorary doctoral degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of seventeen, and brought her international recognition and acclaim.

She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, night-club dancer and performer, castmember of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the days of decolonization. She has also been an actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs.

Since 1982, she has taught at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she holds the first lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies. She was active in the Civil Rights movement, and worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Since the 1990s she made around eighty appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961.

In 2011, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.  To learn more about her life and career, click here.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson@lakinhutcherson

Student Finds Lost Poem of Jupiter Hammon, the 1st Known African-American Writer

One of the earliest writings of Jupiter Hammon, the first African-American poet to be published, has been found. Born into slavery in Long Island, New York, he was allowed to explore his master’s library. Hammon went on to publish his first work, “An Evening Thought,” in 1760. 

Julie McCown, a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Arlington, was researching several libraries for a particular poem and found success at Manuscripts and Archives at Yale University Library in Connecticut. The poem, published in 1786, is telling of Hammon’s evolved thoughts on slavery in America, according to Cedrick May, a UTA professor.

Continue reading “Student Finds Lost Poem of Jupiter Hammon, the 1st Known African-American Writer”

Institute For Teaching African-American Poetry Awarded National Grant

LAWRENCE – A grant awarded to a University of Kansas researcher from the National Endowment for the Humanities will spur the creation of an institute on reading and teaching African-American poetry.

The project is led by Maryemma Graham (pictured), a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of English in the KU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The institute, “Don’t Deny My Voice: Reading and Teaching African-American Poetry,” will be open to college and university teachers from across the country. NEH awarded $189,000 to support the program.

The institute will be guided by experts in the field and supported by the archival resources of KU’s Project on the History of Black Writing and the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University.

Graham founded and continues to direct the Project on the History of Black Writing, located within KU’s Department of English, which is the only archive of its kind and has been in the forefront of black literary studies and inclusion efforts in higher education for 29 years. This grant marks HBW’s seventh from NEH and the fifth national institute in its 14-year history at KU. The institute will be coordinated by Sarah Arbuthnot Lendt, Project on the History of Black Writing grant specialist and KU English instructor. Continue reading “Institute For Teaching African-American Poetry Awarded National Grant”