Time: 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Cost: Free
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Whatcom READS hosts free community events that reflect themes found in each year’s selected title. This year’s community one-read selection is “Washington Black” by Esi Edugyan. To reflect the themes of race and belonging and to honor the voices of Black writers, Whatcom READS presents “‘I’ll Fly Away: A Sojourn Through Poetry and Spirituals” with award-winning poet, performer and distinguished scholar Gloria Burgess.
What connections, what traditions could help people cope with being forcibly transported from one continent to another? The literary and artistic forms of spirituals and poetry not only tied communities together socially and artistically during slavery, but also continue to enrich the multicultural fabric of our state today through the work of contemporary African-American poets, musicians and artists. Gloria Burgess explores the rich, beautiful heritage of spirituals and poetry from the African-American tradition in a spirited sojourn through words and music. This interactive presentation covers the sometimes hidden meanings of specific spirituals and poems, including how the art helped people cope as they were transported from another culture. Made possible by a Lift Every Voice grant.
Lift Every Voice is a year-long, nationwide celebration of the 250-year tradition of African American poetry. With signature events in New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Kansas City; readings, performances, and moderated conversations at public libraries around the country; and a revelatory new anthology edited by Kevin Young, Lift Every Voice aims to highlight the richness and diversity of African American poetic imagination and its central place in American poetry.
Lift Every Voice is directed by Library of America in partnership with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and with libraries, arts organizations, and bookstores in all 50 states. It is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Emerson Collective. For more information, including a downloadable discussion guide, visit africanamericanpoetry.org.