Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum, in collaboration with the Membership Libraries Group presents... Brown: Poems with Kevin Young
Folio: The Seattle Athenaeum, in collaboration with the Membership Libraries Group presents…
Brown: Poems with Kevin Young
This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required; register through Folio’s event webpage to reserve your spot.
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Divided into Home Recordings and Field Recordings, Brown speaks to the way personal experience is shaped by culture, while culture is forever affected by the personal, recalling a black Kansas boyhood to comment on our times.
From History–a song of Kansas high-school fixture Mr. W., who gave his students the Sixties / minus Malcolm X, or Watts, / barely a march on Washington–to Money Road, a sobering pilgrimage to the site of Emmett Till’s lynching, the poems engage place and the past and their intertwined power.
These thirty-two taut poems and poetic sequences, including an oratorio based on Mississippi barkeep, activist, waiter Booker Wright that was performed at Carnegie Hall and the vibrant sonnet cycle De La Soul Is Dead, about the days when hip-hop was growing up (we were black then, not yet / African American), remind us that blackness and brownness tell an ongoing story.
A testament to Young’s own–and our collective–experience, Brown offers beautiful, sustained harmonies from a poet whose wisdom deepens with time.
Kevin Young is the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. He previously served as the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Young is the author of fifteen books of poetry and prose, including the forthcoming poetry collection Stones (September 2021); Brown; Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015, longlisted for the National Book Award; Book of Hours, winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Jelly Roll: a blues, a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry; Bunk a New York Times Notable Book, longlisted for the National Book Award and named on many “best of” lists for 2017; and The Grey Album, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and the PEN Open Book Award, a New York Times Notable Book, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. The poetry editor of the New Yorker, where he hosts the Poetry Podcast, Young is the editor of nine other volumes, most recently the acclaimed anthology African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Society of American Historians, and was named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2020.
(Tuesday) 7:00 pm - 7:00 pm