“My voice is small as it asks, What will it matter to them if I make a book? I am one poet. Isn’t there space for me?”It was a sentiment I’ve felt many times. Ladan also took me church reading the poem "How to Make a Shadow" (I have it open in another tab and I’m getting chills looking at it again). It was definitely my favorite poem of the night. Read both of these and more in her chapbook Ordinary Heaven. Backwards" stuck with me long after the event was over. Leaving the reading, I felt a little drained, but mostly I felt inspired and excited to write and look for more of the work from these poets. I hope you check these ladies out and feel the same way, too.
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Earlier this month, I attended a poetry reading featuring five African women that was so good I almost passed out several times. Well, it was probably more the fact that it was hot and I hadn’t eaten anything before rushing over to the Poetry Foundation in downtown Chicago, but regardless, the talent there did knock me off my feet. The event was the third stop of the six-city series “A Celebration of International Poetry,” which, as the name implies, focuses on international poets from any era. The inclusive series was created and brought to the Poetry Foundation of Chicago by The Poetry Society of America, the oldest poetry organization in the nation. Their mission of building a more diverse audience, bringing a deeper appreciation of poetry to American life, and supporting the poets involved was certainly fulfilled at the event. The writers were all emerging African poets whose work appears in the recently published installment of the chapbook series New Generation African Poets. They were warmly introduced by the co-editors of the series, Chris Abani and Kwame Dawes, as well as African Poetry Book Fund Editorial Board Member Matthew Shenoda. Because my experience was so good — from the quaint, garden-like path leading to the Poetry Foundation entrance to the captivating voice of each reader — I wanted to share a little about each poet and a piece or two that really moved me. Carnaval. on Feminist Wire.
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