About the event

Join Dr. Tara Betts, Sequoia Maner, and Tony Bolden who will share and consider a few poems from African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song. They will also talk about the overlapping riches of Black language and music. These two expressions are not only valuable in the classroom, but in how they document the experiences of individual poets and Black people.

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Tara Betts is the author of Arc & Hue and the chapbooks 7 x 7: kwansabas and THE GREATEST!: An Homage to Muhammad Ali. Tara received her Ph.D. at Binghamton University and her MFA from New England College. In addition to performing her poems across the country and internationally, Tara’s poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including POETRY, Gathering Ground, Bum Rush the Page, Villanelles, both Spoken Word Revolution anthologies, The Break Beat Poets, Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements and GHOST FISHING: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology.

Tony Bolden
is Associate Professor of African and African American Studies at University of Kansas. He is the author of Afro-Blue: Improvisations in African American Poetry and Culture and Groove Theory: The Blues Foundation of Funk.

Sequoia Mane
r is a poet and assistant professor of African American literature at Spelman College. Her writing has been published in The Feminist Wire, Meridians, Obsidian, The Langston Hughes Review, and other venues.

Lift Every Voice: Why African American Poetry Matters / Celebrating African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song

This event is presented and co-sponsored by One Book One Bronx, Literary Freedom Project, and Leonard Lief Library at Lehman College, CUNY, in collaboration with The Center for the Humanities and Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative at The Graduate Center, CUNY who are hosting a series of eclectic programs and reading groups as part of a nation-wide initiative, Lift Every Voice: Why African American Poetry Matters. Lift Every Voice is a yearlong national public humanities initiative sponsored by the Library of America and The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture that seeks to engage participants in a multifaceted exploration of African American poetry, the perspectives it offers on American history and the on-going struggle for racial justice, and the universality of its imaginative response to the personal experiences of Black Americans over three centuries. These events are also in celebration of the recent publication of African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song, a literary landmark: the biggest, most ambitious anthology of Black poetry ever published, gathering 250 poets from the colonial period to the present. Edited by Kevin Young.