The natural world is everywhere, and we all react to it differently. How does race influence a poet writing about the natural world? For example, a tree, for a southern black writer may have sinister qualities due to the history of lynching that a northern white writer would never consider. Acclaimed poets Cornelius Eady, Aracelis Girmay and Chase Twichell will all read their work. Following the reading will be a discussion led by poet Roger Bonair-Agard. This is expected to be a provocative discussion on race, religion, and how these factors affect one’s relationship with the natural world. The program starts at 7 p.m.; the cost is $5.
The performance and discussion will take place against the backdrop of the “Dreaming of Timbuctoo” exhibit which will be at the VIC from July 29-September 15. The exhibit documents a civil rights initiative to develop black farm colonies in the Adirondacks before the Civil War. There will be a series of programs linked with the exhibit, including this poetry reading, sponsored by the Adirondack Center for Writing, John Brown Lives! and the Paul Smith’s College VIC.
Other programs centered around the exhibit include:
August 2 exhibit curator Amy Godine will give a talk on new findings and connections to Franklin County and Dr Hadley Kruczek–Aaron will give an update on the Timbuctoo Archaeological project.
August 16 will be a conversation, “History, Land, and Meaning” with historians Christopher Moore, Sally Roesch Wagner, and environmental philosopher Marianne Patinelli-Dubay plus a performance by the Akwasasne Women Singers.
Cornelius Eady is the co-founder of Cave Canem, a non-profit serving black poets. He has a wide teaching resume and collection of published poetry, including the autobiography of a jukebox; You Don’t Miss Your Water; and The Gathering of my Name, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He was raised in Rochester, NY and lives in Columbia, MO.
Aracelis Girmay was born and raised in Southern California, with roots in Puerto Rico, Eritrea, and African America. She is the author of the collage-based picture book changing, changing and the poetry collection Teeth, for which she was awarded the GCLA New Writer’s Award. She has taught youth writing workshops for ten years and is an assistant professor of poetry at Hampshire College. Her latest collection is Kingdom Animalia.
Chase Twichell is from Keene, NY, and writes her nature poetry with Adirondack inspiration. However, as a woman and a Buddhist, she brings a new perspective to the genre. Her books of Poetry include Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been, Dog Language, The Snow Watcher, The Ghost of Eden and Northern Spy, among others. She has won awards and fellowships from the Gugghenheim Foudation, the American Acadmey of Arts and Letters and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Roger Bonair-Agard, a beloved staple of ACW poetry events, will lead a discussion including audience and poets. Bonair-Agard moved the the United States from his native Trinidad and Tobago in 1987, and has left a huge mark on today’s poetry scene. He is a two-time National Poetry Slam Champion and author of several books including Tarnish and Masquerade and Burning Down the House. He is a poetry teacher, co-founder of the LouderARTS Project in New York and a mentor to young poets across the country.