This past weekend, I had the opportunity to present at the California Library Association (CLA) on the #BooktoAction panel about the grant we received at the Ukiah Library last spring. I discussed ways our library used the grant from the CA State Library & the CA Center for the Book to have community conversations around the book Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine.
Claudia Rankine’s book Citizen: An American Lyric is an innovative work of poetry, prose, and visual images that addresses racism in America. Rankine introduces the concept of micro-aggressions, or small instances of racism in everyday encounters. Some of these are slights, seemingly slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in public and private life, in sports, online, on TV, everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive, and Rankine’s work puts you into this space. The book has won many awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, the Forward Prize for Best Collection (UK), the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry, and the PEN Open Book Award. It has sold over 180,000 copies since its October 2014 publication.
Citizen was a multi-part program around engaging our community in meaningful conversations about race, racism, racial micro-aggressions, white privilege, and structural inequality. This series was the beginning of ongoing programs we will have at the Ukiah Library to promote racial equity and transformative justice.
Embedded below are the slides.
Feeling rich with poetry gems right now (which is great cos we’re broke & the world at large is feeling more friable than ever). You write these poems & wonder where they came from & then sometimes they are published in great journals like Vector & Flag+Void who are great to work with, & have consistently been producing interesting work for years. This past week saw the release of my poems in both of those journals simultaneously. Amazing. (Copies are available at the links provided.)
In other poetry news – after much planning, I’ve gone ahead & started a new reading series for teens and adults at the Library. We will meet every other month & feature a visiting poet, followed by an open mic. While funds are limited, I have a modest budget for paying performers, & am currently seeking grants as well. I’ll be releasing an open call for submissions soon – so please write me if you know a poet that would like to be considered. Here’s a write-up the local paper did of our first reading in the series featuring MK Chavez!
The Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange is also still open for chapbook submissions through August 1st so send some work our way!:
Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange
Open Reading Submission Period: June 1st – August 1st
The Poetry Center invites emerging and established poets to submit work to the Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange. The PCCE is a community-curated chapbook archive created in 2010, by poets recommending other poets using an each one-invite one model. See http://poetrychapbooks.omeka.net
We aim to provide and maintain open access to small-press and out-of-print chapbooks to promote readership of contemporary poetry as well as encourage its value and availability for use as free, educational, teaching resources.
Send us your work that plays, sings, risks, interrogates, provokes, and moves beyond.
Length: 10-40 pages
Currency: New work (written within the last 5 years); published work that’s fallen out of print.
Aesthetics: seeking a range of forms, approaches, hybrids.
There is no reading fee.
Please email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope you’re all well & finding some strength in poetry.