About the event

Poet Gwendolyn Brooks, in her 1967 occasional poem “The Chicago Picasso,” observed that: “Art hurts. Art urges voyages-/ and it is easier to stay at home, / the nice beer ready.” This notion invites the consideration of a lyric: Darling, you send me. Written in 1955 by the late singer Sam Cooke and released in 1957, “You Send Me” is timeless in theme and durability. How might a poem ‘send’ us? Leafing through Kevin Young’s repertoire of poets and poems, we’ll situate ‘sending’ as an effect responsive to desire and surrender. Mixing our thoughts, “Lift Every Voice” in mind, we’ll make an evening of our musings. Featuring Rodney Terich Leonard, Lise Esdaile, Trapeta B. Mayson, and Monnette Sudler.

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Rodney Terich Leonard
is the author of Sweetgum & Lightning (Four Way Books, 2021). His poems have appeared in BOMB, Four Way Review, Southern Humanities Review, The Cortland Review, HIV Here & Now, andother journals.

Trapeta B. Mayson
is the city of Philadelphia 2020-2021 Poet Laureate. She is a recipient of a Pew Fellowship in Literature, Leeway Transformation Award, Leeway Art and Change Grant, and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grants.

Monnette Sudler
loves music by classic jazz guitarists like Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino, and Bolo Sete. She continues to be inspired by her family, colleagues, and the communities where she has either lived or been of some service. Monnette grew up listening to Nat King Cole and the Motown sounds.

This event is Presented by Lehman College English Department, Lehman College Library, Lift Every Voice, One Book One Bronx, Literary FreedomvProject, and the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

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 Leonard Lief Library at Lehman College, CUNY and One Book One Bronx and Literary Freedom Project, 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.