Don’t Deny My Voice: Reading and Teaching African American Poetry

national_poetry_month_logo_blackAs National Poetry Month moves along, we’d like to share a NEH-funded poetry program.

In response to renewed interest in contemporary poetry, the University of Kansas Project on the History of Black Writing, in conjunction with the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, has initiated the fifteen-month program Don’t Deny My Voice: Reading and Teaching African American Poetry.

The program will focus on the history of African American poetry. Three critical periods—1900-1960, 1960-80, and 1980-present—will be covered. Don’t Deny My Voice features a three-week summer institute, part of the Division of Education Programs’ Summer Institutes for College and University Teachers, as well as subsequent public events and webinars.

The summer institute will take place July 14-August 3 at the University of Kansas’s main campus in Lawrence. The program will enable twenty-five college and university teachers to learn about the history of African American poetry in the 20th and 21st centuries. The institute will be led by experts. Institute participants will collaborate in teaching and research projects and will explore the depth and diversity of African American poetry.

Don’t Deny My Voice will also offer events that are open to the public. These events will take place in late July, including a poetry slam in conjunction with the American Jazz Museum’s poetry forum and festival. More information about the events can be found here.

Pulitzer Prize winning poet Natasha Trethewey signs a copy of her book Native Guard at the University of Michigan. Photo courtesy of Jalissa Gray.

Pulitzer Prize winning poet Natasha Trethewey signs a copy of her book Native Guard at the University of Michigan. Trethewey was named Poet Laureate in Fall 2012. Photo courtesy of Jalissa Gray.

In addition to the summer events, the program will host a series of public discussions online with a group of well-known poets. These discussions will take place in the fall of 2013 and will feature poets such as Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, Rita Dove, Terrance Hayes, Ishmael Reed, Nikki Giovanni, and Leigh McInnis.

If you are interested in learning more about Don’t Deny My Voice, or participating in any of the in-person or online public events, please visit the website.

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