Monday, October 22, 2007

2006 Cave Canem Prize Winner Reading

October 4, 2007

Cave Canem Prize Winner Dawn Lundy Martin reads with Prize Finalists Sean Hill and Nadia Nurhussein and 2006 Prize Judge Carl Phillips

Sean Hill, Dawn Lundy Martin, Carl Phillips, and Nadia Nurhussein

Dawn Lundy Martin

Sean Hill

Nadia Nurhussein

Carl Phillips

Sean Hill and Bakar Wilson

Simone White and
Cave Canem Program Coordinator Dante Micheaux

Shelagh Patterson

Evie Shockley

Mendi Obadike

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

2007 Cave Canem Retreat Fellows

First Years
Monique Callahan
Billy Coakley
Mitchell Douglas
Natalie Graham
Alena Hairston
Rich Hamilton
Janice Harrington
Juliet Howard
Ashaki Jackson
Bettina Judd
Alan King
Ana-Maurine Lara
Khadijah Queen
Nicole Sealey
Stewart Shaw
L’Oreal Snell
Stacey Tolbert

Qiana Towns
Lolita Stewart-White

Second Years

Christina Arche
Marion Bethel
Dwayne Betts
DeLana Dameron
Sharon Dennis Wyeth
Gina Dorcely
Deidre Gantt
Myronn Hardy
Francine Harris
Hallie Hobson
Randall Horton
Marcus Jackson
Carolyn Matthews
Tanya Shirley
Bianca Spriggs
Frank Walker
Vievee Francis

Third Years
Lauren Alleyne
Roger Bonair-Agard
James Cagney
Carleasa Coates
Aya de Leon
Joy Gonsalves
Carolyn Joyner
Charles Lynch
David Mills

Jonathan Moody
Indigo Moor
Hermine Pinson
Amanda Johnston
Gwen Samuels
Amber Thomas
Simone White

Friday, June 15, 2007

Cave Canem Poets @ The Big Read (New Haven, C.T.)

from the bloggers of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas' website:

1) Cave Canem Poets on the New Haven Green: Rhapsody in the rain

Who goes to the New Haven Green to sit under the shelter of a big tent that's being lashed by rain? The answer: New Haven's bold,intrepid lovers of Literature as Spoken Word. Quite a number of us, in fact, sat there feeling pleased with ourselves for being so smart and good-humored (and completely dry--the tent is watertight). The showers would abate for a bit, then swing back in an instant and pound down ferociously. The four mighty poets onstage--Elizabeth Alexander, Cornelius Eady, Patricia Smith and Tyehimba Jess--treated the cat-and-dog downpour as encouragement, a backup percussion beaten on our canvas roof. Among the story-gifts these poets brought:
* words of wisdom from a South African rain queen;
* a step-by-step lesson on how to lay claim to a sofa abandoned on a Manhattan sidewalk;
* a recipe for hot-water cornbread;
* a portrait of the virtuoso guitarist and singer known as Ledbelly.
The other gift each poet brought was a city: Elizabeth Alexander's was New Haven--in fact, the New Haven Green itself in 1839, when the kidnapped Africans taken prisoner from the Amistad were marched out onto the Green for exercise.
Cornelius Eady's city was New York, and that riveting and zanily complicated sofa-claiming story. Patricia Smith's was Chicago with its "wide watery hips," whose West Side was "burned to its bones in '68." Tyehimba Jess offered his hometown of Detroit, with vivid, astringent pictures of the buildings and denizens along the Motor City's once-thrilling boulevards.

2) The Big Read is Big Fun: Saturday Afternoon's Festivities on the Green

. . . I passed by a group of children, completely engrossed in storytelling. They were perched on colorful jumbo-sized alphabet blocks, swinging their free-hanging legs as they clapped their hands with delight. With the sound of their laughter still ringing in my ear, I made my way toward The Big Tent, where a captive audience (this time, made up of adults) listened to a reading by four African American poets. The event, called Cave Canem on the Green, marks my first exposure to Spoken Word. Prior to this experience, I had never known that the art of poetry could extend to its performance. Throughout the reading, the poets' passionate voices showered over me like the rain pounding down on the tent-top. Spoken Word, I learned, speaks to a deeper sense of cultural and spiritual community. With topics ranging from Valentine's Day at an elementary school to the funky sexy music of James Brown, from the death of a parent to the death of our country's soldiers, Cave Canem covered a melange of human, particularly African American, experience. I felt as if I were listening to a conversation about a powerful history, a collective story that I was privileged enough to catch a glimpse of. These poets, especially Patricia Smith and Tyehimba Jesss, spoke so naturally and fluidly that they gave the impression of coming upon a spontaneous revelation, one that the audience was lucky to have witnessed.

The entire poetry reading felt organic, and I'm glad to have shared in the experience. At one point, Patricia Smith pronounced over the roar of the rain, "God, if there's a You...Stop the relentless season, show us your face." And with that, the storm seemed to resurge with new force. The four poets at Cave Canem spoke to and from something that I could not grasp completely, but its stirring beauty could be felt and appreciated by all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cave Canem & The Studio Museum in Harlem

Past Cave Canem faculty member Tim Seibles and three New York City-based poets -- Aracelis Girmay, Marcus Jackson, and JoAnne McFarland -- read their response to the A Philosophy of Time Travel exhibit, a sculptural installation by five artists who have created a “crash site” simulating the effect of a giant steel pyramid dropped on the museum’s roof.

Kalia Brooks, Studio Museum Program Coordinator (host)

Tim Seibles, Aracelis Girmay, Marcus Jackson, and JoAnne McFarland

Tim Seibles

Aracelis Girmay

Marcus Jackson

JoAnne McFarland

Lita Hooper and Aracelis Girmay

Tim Seibles, Marcus Jackson, and A. Van Jordan

Alison Meyers, Cave Canem Executive Director, and attendees

by Aracelis Girmay

Brancusi, what is it that you wanted here
flying into Harlem in your gold-chain suit?
Did you think you’d go unnoticed?
& is this your camouflage?
Did you hear we’d all be dragons here? Or trees?
Gold chain. Gold snake. Gold corn-row through the roof.
One woman points to the sky & says:
Another woman puts her hand over her eyes.
Henry’s ghost runs up from the belly of the station
& says: I knew, I knew!
Where have I heard this story before?
Is this the ship you come in now, to fill your bags
with Artifacts? Books & sidewalks of the straight-backed
glorious, the paintings & the ink & the sun outside.
Will you take them back with you
to 1930? & on them, sign your name?
Harlem, by Brancusi. Garvey, by Brancusi.
Or have you come, Brancusi, for a visit?
Innocent & wondering enough.
Because you heard the people here
were wonderful. & you love spring.
& you want your hair braided. Oh,
Ms. Zora Neale. & the Schomburg’s gonna
open. & you heard Bjork would be singing
at the Apollo. Did you just want to
come down, Brancusi, come down
& get swallowed up by the sound
of a woman singing over the rush & rain
of her shower? Did you just want to
come down, Brancusi, cross over,
into space, space, outer space,
& black & pitch & oyster
mouth above the pearls,
under your breath did you sing
space, space, outer space?
Tell me, did you think Harlem was that place?
(c) Aracelis Girmay, 2007

All Photographs (c) Dante Micheaux

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Cave Canem Poets - AWP 2007 / Atlanta

The University of Georgia Press reception for the release of The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, edited by Nikky Finney.
Kelly Norman Ellis, Nikky Finney, Naomi

Frank X Walker & Stephanie Pruitt

Cave Canem Salon

Raina Leon

Remica L. Bingham reads from Conversion.

Stephanie Pruitt reads from Life on Lay-a-Way

Lita Hooper & Shia Shabazz

Antoinette Brim & Randall Horton

Dante Micheaux

Shia Shabazz & Amanda Johnston

Tara Betts & Raina Leon

Remica L. Bingham

Poets enjoying Gladys Knight & Ron Winan's Chicken & Waffles

Posted by Amanda Johnston