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Monthly Archives: September 2017

Cleveland Book Week Highlights: Tyehimba Jess At Karamu House For A Poetry “Clapback”

Tyehimba Jess came home to Karamu House to lift up “Olio,” his magnificently engineered collection of poems that explore black voices in the decades from Civil War times to the start of World War I. Many of the poems can be read from back to front, at a slant and via every other line, in a welter of sense-making and sensibility. A sold-out crowd flocked to the historic theater during Cleveland Book Week to hear Jess showcase the historic voices that flow through every page of "Olio,"  which won both an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize.  He used a screen projector to show how the works unfold multiple meanings in varied directions. As preamble, two artists from Twelve Literary and Performative Arts  -- Mary Barrett and Damien McClendon -- recited their explosive... Read More →

Cleveland Book Week Highlights: “Hidden Figures” Author Margot Lee Shetterly In Conversation With Cleveland Students

Students from the Tri-C Creative Arts Academy perform "Hidden," under the portraits of the women who inspired the dance: Mary Jackson, Kathleen Johnson and Dorothy Vaughn. Hundreds of Cleveland students joined author Margot Lee Shetterly at Cleveland State University in early September for a student-centric discussion of “Hidden Figures,” which took home the 2017 Anisfield-Wolf prize for nonfiction.  The gathering began with an original, soul-stirring interpretation of “Hidden Figures” in dance from the Tri-C Creative Arts Dance Academy. High school students, most enrolled in the Cleveland School of the Arts, performed "Hidden," a vibrant period piece, choreographed by Terence Greene.  Shetterly then came onto the stage, thanking the students for carrying the work forward in a... Read More →

On The Ground In Ferguson And Beyond: Wesley Lowery On Black Lives Matter And Police Fatalities

Thanks to Wesley Lowery and his colleagues at the Washington Post, citizens anywhere can click on the newspaper’s “Fatal Force” webpage and see the running tally of people who have been shot and killed by police this year. When Lowery, 27, returned to his hometown September 22, he looked up the number on his phone to answer a question at the City Club of Cleveland: 714. Less than a week later, it had ticked up to 730. Last year the total was 992 and in 2015, when Lowery and his team won a Pulitzer for creating the database from scratch, it was 963. Despite heightened awareness around police shootings, despite the protests of Black Lives Matter, the number dying is steady. It is tracking to come in again close to a 1,000 deaths this year, Lowery said. “It’s a pace of... Read More →

Grant Opportunity For Ohio Libraries Brings Regional Literature To Readers

The State Library of Ohio is making it easier for residents to read excellent books with ties to our region, including those from the Anisfield-Wolf canon. From now until October 31, the State Library is calling on libraries to apply to its Celebrating Ohio Book Awards & Authors program, which offers up to $1,000 to purchase books from any Ohio-based award program. In addition to titles from the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, the grant is available for books that have won the Buckeye Children’s and Teen Book Award, James Cook Book Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Ohioana Book Award, or the Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Award. Grant funds can also go toward the purchase of any book from the Choose to Read Ohio list, which builds two-year community conversations... Read More →

Congressman John Lewis Honored With Louis Stokes Community Award In Cleveland

U.S. Congress member John Lewis is short and bald and unfailingly humble. Before he could say a word during a quick September stop in Cleveland to accept the Louis Stokes Community Vision Award, a breakfast crowd of more than 500 gave the 77-year-old a thunderous standing ovation. Overhead in the Renaissance Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, the film trailer for “Selma” had spun out a brief, heart-clenching re-enactment of Bloody Sunday in 1965, when law enforcement officials beat Lewis unconscious on Alabama’s Edmund Pettis Bridge. The Canadian actor playing Lewis – Stephan James – appears in the trailer four times. A clip from the John Lewis episode of “Finding Your Roots” followed. It re-played the revelation that Tobias Carter, the Atlanta congress member’s... Read More →

That’s A Wrap! Cleveland Book Week 2017, From Cover To Cover

From left to right: Cleveland Foundation President Ronn Richard, Peter Ho Davies, Tyehimba Jess, Isabel Allende, Ansfield-Wolf juror Rita Dove, Margot Lee Shetterly, Karan Mahajan, Anisfield-Wolf Jury chair Henry Louis Gates Jr. Photo by Robert Muller. Last week we celebrated Cleveland Book Week, a series of book and literacy-themed events surrounding the 82nd annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. From September 5-9, community events across Greater Cleveland honored this year’s Anisfield-Wolf winners and celebrated all things literary in our community. Sept. 5 – We kicked Book Week off with a launch celebration on Public Square, featuring free children’s and young adult books from the Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank, free ice cream from Mitchell’s, and live music from Roots of American... Read More →

Rita Dove Named One Of Time Magazine’s “Firsts”

Rita Dove, pictured here as the poet laureate in 1993Rita Dove, pictured here as the poet laureate in 1993 The September 18 double-issue of Time Magazine profiles 46 living women pioneers – among them Rita Dove, the former U.S. poet laureate and current Anisfield-Wolf Award juror. The list brims with astronauts and actresses, athletes and ambassadors, and a Nobel laureate in molecular biology. The only person to make the cut as a writer is Dove. Drawing from her years growing up in Akron, Ohio, she transformed American letters with Thomas and Beulah, her groundbreaking poetry collection inspired by her grandparents. Dove mentions this book in the first sentence of her Time Magazine essay, which appears under the headline “Raising hackles means you are not being ignored.” In the last paragraph, Dove, 65, writes... Read More →
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