This event features local Black poets and writers reading original works associated with or inspired by history. They reflect on Tennessee’s Black history, which may include historical figures (writers, politicians, leaders, artists, etc), communities, and movements. Each writer will speak to how they were influenced by and how their work reflects those who came before them, their challenges, and triumphs.
Kashif Andrew Graham is a writer and theological librarian at the Vanderbilt Divinity School. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English Honors Literature and Spanish Language and Literature from the City University of New York (CUNY Lehman, Bronx). He moved to Tennessee in 2014 to pursue a Master of Arts in Church Ministry from the Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tennessee. As a self-described New Yorker living in the South, he enjoys writing poetry on his collection of vintage typewriters (@kagwrites on Instagram). He is currently at work on a novel about an interracial gay couple living in East Tennessee.
Cameron L. Mitchell is the Actor Laureate of Murfreesboro and a spoken word artist. He is the founder of Free Fyre, an organization of spoken word artists who engage the community with a blend of poetry, theatrics, and transformation. In addition to serving as a mentor with Southern Word, Mitchell has performed poetry at conferences and events for the NAACP, Creative Exchange, Links INC, OZ arts, The National Civil Rights Museum, and Vanderbilt University, among others. As a Metro Nashville Arts Commission Thrive recipient, he has produced the one man show, “Blackbird,” and curated the ensemble performance “INFAMI.” Mitchell has worked with various theatrical groups including Nashville Children’s Theater in “Ghost.” As a Memphis native and graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Mitchell seeks to transform the community through words and performance.
Ciona Rouse is the author of the chapbook Vantablack (Third Man Books, 2017). Her poetry has appeared in Oxford American, NPR Music, The Account, Talking River, Gabby Journal, and other publications. She is poetry editor of Wordpeace. Along with poet Kendra DeColo, Rouse hosts the literary podcast Re\VERB.
The link to the online discussion, presented through WebEx, will be promoted on our Facebook page and website event calendar on prior to the discussion. Guests will be able to ask questions during the discussion that will be answered towards the end of the talk, should time allow.
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