After driving down the night before the conference and getting settled into the hotel, I had dinner with co-editor Lauri Ramey and fellow panelist Tyrone Williams. The next morning, Joanne Gabbin was there to greet us, and our panel on black avant gardes got things off to a start as the first plenary session. We were joined on the panel by Mark McMorris, Douglas Kearney, C.S. Giscombe, Meta Jones and Mendi Obadike (with her able assistant here depicted). While we were all disappointed that giovanni singleton had not been able to join us as planned, much of our discussion grew out of questions she put to us, perhaps most instigating the question of what it means to be "included."
The rest of the day brought us a session on the new Black Arts Movement anthology, SOS, a panel that shaded into a tribute to the late Amiri Baraka. There were concurrent sessions in the afternoon, where Michael New and Sarah RudeWalker delivered papers, Sarah participating with the moderator in a mini U of Kansas NEH Summer Institute reunion.
Dinner with old and new friends, some from the U.K., was followed by a gala evening poetry reading, to which Thomas Sayers Ellis brought James Brandon Lewis and Luke Stewart, who provided stunning counterpoint. Additionally, it was the only moment during the day when TSE wasn't stalking the crowd with his camera -- for which we are all grateful, given the beauty of the photographs he has been posting on FaceBook in the days since.