Last week in Los Angeles a band of angels gathered to lift up the language. Thanks to the organizing efforts of Lauri Ramey, her students, and the staff of Cal State Los Angeles, we were able to bring to the public the largest ever gathering of poets whose work appears in the anthology What I Say: Innovative Poetry by Black Writers in America, available from University of Alabama Press.
In one room, in one night, an enthusiastic audience of AWP conference goers and Los Angeles residents got to hear poetry from the book, and new works, from Dawn Lundy Martin, Harryette Mullen, Will Alexander, C.S. Giscombe, Duriel Harris, Harmony Holiday, Erica Hunt, Geoffrey Jacques, Douglas Kearney, Tracie Morris, Fred Moten, Julie Patton, giovanni singleton AND Ronaldo Wilson, nearly half the contributors to the volume.
We made a recording of the event, which will appear at some future date on Penn Sound so that this rare convergence can be recalled by all.
In the coming weeks there will be smaller readings around the country, including Pia Deas, Mark McMorris, T.J. Anderson, Tyrone Williams and others. More to come in the Fall.
[photo by Alex Espinoza]