Langston's House Gala

The I, Too Arts Collective is a non-profit organization founded by Renée Watson, committed to nurturing voices from underrepresented communities in the creative arts. In July 2016, she launched an online fundraising campaign to lease the brownstone where Langston lived and created during the last twenty years of his life. The #LangstonsLegacy campaign raised over $150,000 and secured a three-year lease. Hundreds of people from all over the world supported the campaign. It was truly a collective effort, and now it’s time for the real work to begin.  Check out more here: www.itooarts.com

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April Poetry Month - Seventeen Magazine - Found Poem #1

Happy Poetry Month! I have been writing a poem a day & wanted to post some of the new work. We are working on media literacy with the Bronx Poetry Project & we spent some time analyzing magazine covers - what a wild world we entered. So much madness. Hope you enjoy. 

Seventeen Magazine

Found Poem #1

You won’t be able to stop checking out your butt, but

be brave this year. This year look Hot! Hot! Hot! 

in your jeans. Girls Gone Wild (for less). Less 

is more. More is more. But how far must a girl go

to get his attention? Hot Abs. Hot Arms. Hot Thighs

How far must a girl go? His attention? How hot hot 

hot is his attention – girl. Get Instagram Instaglam. Oh!

Fashion, beauty & body tricks. Tricks of the beauty trade—

Bikini Body Confidence. Blitz. Glitz. Gutz. Butz & Bendz.

Slutz & Steady Glamor. Sexy cuts. Sexy tone. Sexy sexy

sexy sexy sexy sexy. Sexy. Amazing shine. Shine & get 

the guy. Get flat abs. Fast. Get major confidence. Get: 

Gutted. Get: Guilty. Get: Major stressors. Get smooth

skin fast. Get 625 pretty looks for YOU. Party hair. Party

skin. Party boobs. Party bod. 763 fashion tips & beauty 

tricks. Boost your bra size in one month. Boost your hot

flat abs. Boost your confidence. Boost your mood w/

659 new luscious lip colors. Learn to kiss. Sexy like.

This issue is for YOU. 

This issue is for YOU—

Is this issue

for YOU? Who 

is this issue for?

AWP Los Angeles

To all the birds painted & all their wings. To the decades long friendships & all the poems. To new collections, drinks on rooftops, lime, lobster rolls on the beach, sunshine, sand. So thankful for the time. For all the words & all the ways to say them. 

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Ara & Marina!  Celebrating: the black maria - so gorgeous!

Ara & Marina!  Celebrating: the black maria - so gorgeous!

Venice

Venice

Northwestern University Press - Luis Rodriguez & Parneshia Jones

Northwestern University Press - Luis Rodriguez & Parneshia Jones

Affrilachian Poets

Affrilachian Poets

LA Sky

LA Sky

Tsukiji Fish Market & Final Farewell to Tokyo

To this trip I will never forget. Here's the start to a new poem: 

To the shark fin on the bullet train from Sendai to Tokyo - 

How ocean you are. How deep dark sea scrawl, belly crawl how you taste of raw & helpless, how you lapse & drape, thwap the whole of your boneless accordion around my tongue. How you sidle & meander rock loose & let flap. How you must have held memory, a rollicking jut of salt & sand. Each waves' buoyant frolic towards hunger & then sate. How you never expected the hook, 

All you knew then was swim. Eat or get eaten. & all the time I am thinking that those of us on land

are doing the exact  

same thing.  

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Visit to the Tohoku Region - Ishinomaki High School - Exchange of a Lifetime

This partnership started nearly three years ago to create a global exchange between poets in Japan and the U.S.  Currently we have over 30 students in South Korea, Japan and the U.S. all sharing poetry & who they are. On the final days of the trip we visited the Tohoku region, site of the tsunami that devasted the area nearly five years ago. We visited a local high school to share poetry as a way to heal. Renée Watson brought her gorgeous book - A Place Where Hurricanes Happen & we shared our collective future together. The poetry transformed the room. Started the healing process. How poetry grounds & connects us. & it does!

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Tokyo International Literary Festival & Tsukuba Elementary School

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy held a beautiful reception at the Embassy & toasted our young poets. Here they are posing for the camera & loving getting to know each other. They also performed at the Literary Festival & we got the chance to see Poetry Boxing in action at Tsukuba Elementary. Also got to teach a performance workshop to all the students with the brilliant Renée Watson. Warm-up games, songs, intro silliness & emotional car ride. The poets were awesome! 

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Keynote poet - Elizabeth Alexander - Praise Song for the Day

Keynote poet - Elizabeth Alexander - Praise Song for the Day

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Poets from the 2014-15 season. Loved seeing them!!! 

Poets from the 2014-15 season. Loved seeing them!!! 

Students serving lunch - so cool.  

Students serving lunch - so cool.  

These guys were the DJ set for lunch - seriously. There was music & they were the ones making it happen.  

These guys were the DJ set for lunch - seriously. There was music & they were the ones making it happen.  

International Poetry Exchange 2016

Welome to Japan. See the city this way - with young poets from NYC & Tokyo & South Korea & Okinawa. Watch their thrill & see your own. Watch the way the words unwind. Capture every possible moment. Be awake, alert. You won't want to forget. 

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Meiji Shrine, where we wrote wishes and prayers on wooden wishing plaques. Here's to all the many things to come.  

Meiji Shrine, where we wrote wishes and prayers on wooden wishing plaques. Here's to all the many things to come.  

Hemisphere LOVES Wild Fig & Berea & Kentucky

All down home. All North Limestone & family. All radical spaces & love. All brilliant students who are grown. All the wildest of figs. All fried green tomatoes, cheese grits, biscuits & gravy. All bell hooks & Gloria Steinem secret events. All in awe of Crystal Wilkinson & all the community she continues to build & build. All crock pots of chili at Madison Southern. Lord, it all makes me feel so home. Can't wait to get back. Love!

 

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Hemisphere heads to Austin, Texas

This poet life - all Texas, Amanda Johnston, Parneshia Jones, lakes & late lunches.  

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Grisham Middle School visit - poeting about bra shopping & French kissing. 

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BBQ  

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Donut Burgers

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Shots & Pilsner

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Book Woman!!! 

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DreamYard & Bronx Love

Back to DreamYard this week & witness to such a brilliant & genius borough. Glad to be back in the Bronx. Feels like home.  

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Lament for the Dead - project & new poem

Hello all-

I feel honored to be a part of this incredibly moving project. Please click the link below to read the poem, & find more info on the project.

Lament for the Dead is an online community poetry project which will mark the death of every person killed by police this summer, and every police officer who loses life in the line of duty, with a poem. 

The first lie that hate tells us is that any other person is not as human as we are. This project resists that lie by recognizing each other’s humanity, even in the most difficult places.

http://www.lamentforthedead.org/about/

 

 

The Morris Book Shop

Lexington, my love.  

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Family

Family

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Charlie Brown - Bavarian Alpine  - History 

Charlie Brown - Bavarian Alpine  - History 

Last call @ Country Boy Brewing - Cougar Bait  

Last call @ Country Boy Brewing - Cougar Bait  

Chicago

Chicago - you city of conjure women & decades old friendship. City of lakes & loose talk, all Old Style all night, city of fried perch w/ jalapeños, peppermint sticks in pickles, Bookends & Beginnings for the Vessel juke joint party. Ellis & Jones & DFlo. You city of fried pickles & cheese curd, all Midwest & wild, all rowdiness. City of salted grits & fried eggs, falafel & lamb & hummus. City of griddle burgers & garden dragged hot dogs w/ relish, white onions, tomatoes, celery salt, sport peppers & a pickle - done right. Damn! City of late night poetry, the Green Mill, bass players & cold beer, open mic - Angela Jackson making the night fire. Chicago - I come back to you always.  

Thank you for having us. 

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Open Road

 

Hey folks. We are headed for the open road. First stop is Chicago for Parneshia Jones & the Vessel book party & then we will be reading at the Green Mill on Sunday, June 28th. Then we are heading home to Kentucky for a reading at Carmichael's Bookstore on Friday, July 3rd, and another stop at the Morris book shop on Thursday, July 9th. Please check the calendar for times & info. & follow here for updates & poems & photos. Hope to see y'all somewhere soon. 

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April Poem #21

Initial Investigation 

for Freddie Gray

Consider the whole built spine

& how long it took to deconstruct

consider riot as retribution, cleansing even,

balm.

April Poem 20 (sample)

An open letter to Michael T. Slager

In memory of Walter L. Scott

 

It was the standing there that fucked me up

your body upright, right & erect—how many

 

ways can you let someone die? Beneath you,

your very stand/stance your whole vertical shit

 

stiff & still, shifted eyes—but body cocked up

up turned—closer to sky, to wings & flit fuck

 

you man & the way your spine stood still, firm

all those vertebrae lined up, a house beneath

 

your skin where you're at home, confident.

April Poem #19

Shelter

 

because staying dry is sometimes            remedy

all those metal spokes             jutting about

plastic handle hold on tight            canopy

awning from sky            awning from down

pour                        because there was no rain

but you held onto that smallest roof

in any case             coat buttoned            styled

half dangling on your open mouthed

half smile            sometimes

just the thought of protection is enough.

 

Ekphrastic poem from: Young girl with umbrella on Centre Street Hill District, Pittsburgh 1951, Richard Saunders

April Poem #18 (sample)

The Reception 

 

Gather arms wrapped around waists, backs 

& tilted chins, square jaws, pantyhose, patterned 

clothes held close. Celebrate congregate cocktails 

wedding bells. Trees tell, gather tales, tell them tall 

take ‘em home.

 

*Ekphrastic Poem based on painting by Johnathan Green, 1988, oil on masonite