LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas institute focused on black poetry is hosting public events that will examine the relationship between poetry and culture, both locally and broadly.
The events are part of the three-week institute “Don’t Deny My Voice: Reading and Teaching African American Poetry.” The institute will be July 14-Aug. 3. Events planned for Lawrence:
- “Poetry Collections/Archives and the Role of the Community, Educators, Research and Recovery Efforts,” 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, Spencer Museum of Art. Opening reception for the institute and accompanying gallery exhibit “Voicing America." Free.
- “Summer Scholar Open Mic Night,” 5 p.m. Sundays, July 21 and July 28, Genovese Restaurant, 941 Massachusetts St. Free.
- “Poetry and its Publics,” 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, Hall Center for the Humanities. Free.
Events will feature discussions and performances by KU faculty, guest scholars and poets, including Joanne Gabbin, the director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center, the notable institution for black poetry in the United States. More details about the events and the institute faculty can be found at the Don’t Deny My Voice website.
Twenty-five college and university teachers nationwide have been selected to participate in the program, which is federally funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The institute is part of a 15-month program funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to KU’s Project on the History of Black Writing. During the institute’s fall 2013 followup, participants will have an opportunity to engage some of today’s leading poets and writers, including Rita Dove, Nikki Giovanni, Terrance Hayes, C. Leigh McInnis, Ishmael Reed and National Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. More information on these virtual seminars is available at the Don’t Deny My Voice website.
Maryemma Graham, University Distinguished Professor of English, directs the institute, a collaboration with the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, founded by Gabbin. Institute coordinator is Sarah Arbuthnot Lendt. KU co-sponsors include the offices of the Chancellor and the Provost, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center, Department of English, KU Libraries, Spencer Museum of Art and KU Center for Research.
The Project on the History of Black Writing is located in the Department of English, a unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at KU. For the last 30 years, HBW has been engaged in researching and recovering black writers and their works and has sponsored 15 publicly funded projects with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.