On Tuesday, August 18, 2020, the founding members of the Poetry Coalition presented a live broadcast of One Poem: A Protest Reading in Support of Black Lives. Watch a recording of the reading here:
The Poetry Coalition invites its audiences to give to efforts and organizations working against racial injustice. Find out more here: Where to Give & Other Resources.
About the Poetry Coalition
The Poetry Coalition is a national alliance of more than 25 organizations dedicated to working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds. Members are nonprofit organizations whose primary mission is to promote poets and poetry, and/or multi-genre literary organizations that serve poets with disabilities and of specific racial, ethnic, or gender identities, backgrounds, or communities. All members present poets at live events. Each March, members also present programming across the country on a theme of social importance. The Poetry Coalition is coordinated by the Academy of American Poets and we are grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its support of this work.
Poets reading include:
Invited by Poetry Society of America
Jericho Brown is author of The Tradition (Copper Canyon 2019), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and he is the winner of the Whiting Award. He is the director of the Creative Writing Program and a professor at Emory University.
Brown read “Bullet Points.”
Invited by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers
Sojourner Ahebee writes stories about African diaspora identities and the eternal question of home and belonging. Her writing and audio stories have appeared in The Atlantic, The Academy of American Poets (Poem A Day), WHYY (NPR Member Station), Rewire, and the Hear to Slay podcast, hosted by Roxane Gay and Tressie McMillan Cottom. In 2013, Ahebee served as a National Student Poet. She is a recipient of the MacDowell Fellowship.
Ahebee read “Origins.”
Invited by the Poetry Center at Arizona State University
Alberto Álvaro Ríos's latest collection of poems is Not Go Away Is My Name. A National Book Award finalist, Ríos has taught at Arizona State University since 1982. He is Arizona’s inaugural poet laureate, a recent chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.
Ríos read “A House Called Tomorrow.”
Invited by Zoeglossia
Kimberly Jae is an award-winning Slam poet, author and educator, who is also disabled. She is the 2018 Grand Slam Champion of Steel City Slam, the 2018 BOSS Slam Queen of Steel Slam Champion, the 2018 Steel City Slam IWPS Rep, the 2018 Womxn Slam Champion, and a three-time Pajama Jammie Jam Slam Champion. She was also a finalist in the Grand Slam Championships for Guelph Spoken Word Slam and in the Steel City Grand Slam Championship just prior to having a stroke. Kimberly Jae was ranked as one of the top 30 slam poets in the world by Poetry Slam International in 2018 and was named a Zoeglossia Fellow in 2020.
Jae read “Simulation or That Time I saw Quason Turner in My Son's Eyes.”
Invited by the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University
Mwatabu S. Okantah is an Associate Professor of Pan-African Studies at Kent State University. He is the author of Guerrilla Dread (2019), Muntu Kuntu Energy (2013) and Reconnecting Memories (2004). Visit his official website, mkepoet1.com.
Okantah read “afraid of the dark.”
Representing the Indigenous Nations Poets
Kimberly Blaeser, past Wisconsin Poet Laureate, is the author of four poetry collections—most recently Copper Yearning and Apprenticed to Justice. Anishinaabe from White Earth Reservation, Blaeser is a Professor at UW—Milwaukee and MFA faculty member at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe. A bilingual collection of her poetry, Résister en dansee/Dancing Resistance will be published in France in 2020.
Blaeser read “Dead Letter.”
Invited by Cave Canem
Interdisciplinary artist and educator avery r. young is a 3Arts Awardee, one of four executives for The Floating Museum and the Poetry Editor for Bridge. Young’s latest full-length recording tubman. (FPE Records) is the soundtrack to his first collection of poems, neckbone: visual verses (Northwestern University Press, 2019).
young read “after BAM.”
Invited by Poets House
Monica Youn is the author of Blackacre (Graywolf Press 2016), longlisted for the National Book Award, Ignatz (Four Way Books 2010), a finalist for the National Book Award, and Barter (Graywolf Press 2003). She has been awarded the Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University and the Witter Bynner Fellowship of the Library of Congress.
Youn read “Whiteacre.”
Invited by Lambda Literary
Matthew “mattmatt radio” Thompson is a Black American poet, comedian & filmmaker from Cleveland, Ohio.
Thompson read “Remember Me This Way.”
Invited by Mass Poetry
Martín Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York. He has published almost twenty books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His honors include the 2018 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, an American Book Award, and an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, among others. Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Espada read “The Sign in My Father's Hands.”
Invited by Youth Speaks
Prisca Afantchao is a first-generation Togolese-American poet and high school student based in Windsor, Connecticut. She was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Center Fighting Words contest and received two silver keys from the 2019 Scholastic Writing and Arts competition for her poetry collections.
Afantchao read “Black and Blue.”
Invited by O, Miami
Arsimmer McCoy is a Richmond Heights, Florida native with over twelve years of experience in creative writing and performance. McCoy’s work is centered around the nuances and complexities of her life growing up in the city of Miami. McCoy has also performed at the Chale Wote Street Art Festival in Accra, Ghana, The Sunday Practise in Leeds, England, and Lulu in Bangkok, Thailand. Arsimmer would like for her work as an artist and educator to serve as a message for her students, that no matter what their walk is in life, their voice is capable, revolutionary, genius, and necessary.
McCoy read “The Mecca (Ode to the 183rd Street Flea Market).”
Invited by CantoMundo
Raina J. León is a Black, Afro-Boricua, native Philadelphian. She is the author of Canticle of Idols, Boogeyman Dawn and sombra: dis(locate) and the chapbooks, profeta without refuge and Areyto to Atabey: Essays on the Mother(ing) Self. She supports creatives, activists, educators, and other community organizers as a full professor of education at Saint Mary’s College of California, only the third Black person (all Black women) and the first Afro-Latina to achieve that rank there.
León read “Suspect.”
Invited by Beyond Baroque
Sesshu Foster has taught composition and literature in East L.A. for thirty years. He is the author of City of the Future (Kaya Press, 2018), winner of the CLMP Firecracker Award; World Ball Notebook (City Lights Publishers, 2009), winner of the American Book Award; and ELADATL: A History of the East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines (City Lights Publishers, forthcoming 2021), a novel co-written with artist Arturo E. Romo.
Foster read from "Alhambra Postcards."
Invited by the The Poetry Center, San Francisco State University
Poet, movement worker, and educator Tongo Eisen-Martin is author of two books of poetry, someone’s dead already (Bootstrap Press) and Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights Books, Pocket Poets Series), which won both a 2018 California Book Award and an American Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize. He lives in San Francisco.
Eisen-Martin read “A Good Earth.”
Invited by Letras Latinas, the literary initiative at University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies
Emma Trelles is the daughter of Cuban immigrants and the author of Tropicalia (University of Notre Dame Press), winner of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize and a finalist for Foreword/Indies poetry book of the year. She teaches at Santa Barbara City College and curates the Mission Poetry Series.
Trelles read “How We Lived.”
Invited by Woodland Pattern
Nikki Wallschlaeger’s work has been featured in The Nation, Brick, American Poetry Review, Witness, Kenyon Review, POETRY, and others. She is the author of the full-length collections Houses (Horseless Press, 2015) and Crawlspace (Bloof, 2017) as well as the graphic book I Hate Telling You How I Really Feel (Bloof, 2019). Her third collection, Waterbaby, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2021.
Wallschlaeger read “What If Heaven is Just Another White Folks' Kitchen.”
Invited by Urban Word NYC
Meera Dasgupta is the 16-year-old NYC Poet Laureate and the 2020 United States Youth Poet Laureate. A Van Lier Fellow, Federal Hall Fellow, Climate Speaks Winner, Scholastic Arts & Writing winner, Dasgupta’s performances have been featured by the New York Times, PBS, Apple, Grist, the Apollo Theater, and Bryant Park. A part of numerous advocacy groups, she hopes to continue to utilize the intersection between social justice and poetry to uplift historically underrepresented communities and to combat normative hegemonic narratives.
Dasgupta read “My Poems as Victims of Gun Violence.”
Invited by the Academy of American Poets
Kwame Dawes was born in Ghana and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. He is the author of numerous collections of poetry and fiction, most recently Nebraska (University of Nebraska Press, 2019). Dawes was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2018. He is currently the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska, where he is a Chancellor’s Professor of English.
Dawes read “Land Ho.”
Invited by Kundiman
Terisa Siagatonu is an award-winning touring poet, speaker, educator and community organizer born and rooted in the Bay Area. She was awarded President Obama's Champion of Change Award for her activism as a poet/organizer in her Pacific Islander community. A 2019 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 100 List Honoree and Kundiman fellow, Terisa's work has been published in Poetry and has been featured on Button Poetry, CNN, NBCNews, NPR, KQED, Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism, The Guardian, and Buzzfeed.
Siagatonu read “[There are years where I believe in heaven].”
Invited by the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival
Cortney Lamar Charleston is the author of Telepathologies (Saturnalia Books, 2017) and a poetry editor at The Rumpus. He currently resides in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Invited by Mizna
Safia Elhillo is the author of The January Children (University of Nebraska Press, 2017), which received the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets and an Arab American Book Award, Girls That Never Die (One World/Random House 2021), and the novel in verse Home Is Not a Country (Make Me A World/Random House, 2021). With Fatimah Asghar, she is co-editor of the anthology Halal if You Hear Me (Haymarket Books, 2019). She is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and lives in Oakland.
Elhillo read “self-portrait with yellow dress.”