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Tag Archives: 2015

READ: Marilyn Chin’s New Poem, “Peony”

Hours before accepting her 2015 Anisfield-Wolf award, Marilyn Chin claimed "activist poet" as her mantle:  "I've been writing poetry to right the wrongs of the world, to express my Chinese-American sensibility, to work for this utopian American future." Chin, a professor at San Diego State University teaching this year at Smith College, collected the prize for Hard Love Province, her fourth volume of poetry. Juror Rita Dove praised her work as "icy yet inflamed." Her new poem, "Peony," is featured for some 350,000 subscribers to the American Academy of Poet's digitally-delivered "Poem-A-Day."  This new work continues the elegiac notes found in Hard Love Province, lamenting on the passage of time.Chin explained the origins of "Peony" to the staff at the academy: “In Beijing, a... Read More →

[Must Read] Jericho Brown On Langston Hughes’ Poem “Suicide’s Note”

When Jericho Brown won his Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, he spoke of his awe of Langston Hughes, calling his discovery of Hughes’ poems in a Louisiana public library the equivalent of falling in love. He also reminded the audience at Playhouse Square that Hughes was still a teenager, newly graduated from Central High School in Cleveland in 1920, when he wrote The Negro Speaks of Rivers. “Every time I think of an 18-year-old writing a poem that great,” Brown deadpanned, “I really hate Langston Hughes.” Now Brown has returned to this “first poet” in his pantheon, publishing an evocative, moving post “To Be Asked for A Kiss” on the Poetry Foundation web site. Suicide’s Note          by Langston Hughes The calm,Cool face of the riverAsked me for a kiss... Read More →

[VIDEO] Marlon James: We All Have A Stake In Ending Racism

Marlon James begins his 2-minute video on racism with the following question: "Are you 'non' or are you 'anti'?" Published by the Guardian and viewed more than 10 million times, the video asks viewers to grapple with their own sense of personal responsibility when it comes to dismantling white supremacy. James broke down his thoughts on non-racism vs. anti-racism when he spoke at the Cleveland City Club September 12. Here is a handy video recap of his point to share with friends: Read More →

[In Their Words] Examining The Runaway Success Of A Brief History Of Seven Killings

by Dr. Anand Bhat In 2007, when I asked my driver in Caracas if evangelical Christianity had been making its way into the oil-rich jungles of Venezuela, he nodded, smiled, and said, “Yes, they say officially they are here for the Church of Pentecost, but I think they are here for the Church of the CIA.”  In every developing nation, that nod and that smile and that second story represent the beginning of almost every great storytelling session I have had about recent history and current events. Listen to me now.  Me warn him… Long time I drop warnings that other people close, friend and enemy, was going get him in a whole heap o’trouble.  Every one of we know at least one, don’t it?  Always have a notion but never come up with a single idea.  Always working plenty of... Read More →

WATCH: Richard S. Dunn, 2015 Winner Of Anisfield-Wolf Prize: “It Is A Tremendous Honor”

Richard S. Dunn spent 40 years researching and writing "A Tale of Two Plantations," a scrupulous, revelatory archival investigation of some2,000 people enslaved across three generations: roughly half on a Jamaican sugar plantation called Mesopotamia, and half on Mount Airy, a Virginia tidewater plantation growing tobacco and grain. As is our tradition, we interview each of our winners prior to the hustle of the evening to get their quiet thoughts on what being recognized means to them. Here is Dunn's turn in front of the camera: Richard S Dunn, 2015 Anisfield-Wolf winner for nonfiction from Anisfield Wolf on Vimeo.   Read More →

WATCH: Marilyn Chin On Winning The 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Prize: “I Believe I’m An Activist Poet”

As Marilyn Chin began her acceptance speech for this year's award for poetry, she looked out in the audience upon former poet laureate and jury member Rita Dove, thanking her for her sisterhood. Dove praised "Hard Love Province," noting, "In these sad and beautiful poems, a withering portrayal of our global ‘society’ emerges – from Buddha to Allah, Mongols to Bethesda boys, Humvee to war horse, Dachau to West Darfu, Irrawaddy River to San Diego.” As is our tradition, we interview each of our winners prior to the hustle of the evening to get their quiet thoughts on what being recognized means to them. Here is Chin’s turn in front of the camera:   Marilyn Chin, 2015 Anisfield-Wolf winner for poetry from Anisfield Wolf on Vimeo.   Read More →

WATCH: Marlon James On Winning The 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Prize: “My Whole Life Has Been Shaped By Anisfield-Wolf”

It was a brief passage in "Sula," Toni Morrison's 1973 novel, that changed Marlon James' entire life: in it, Sula refutes the idea that her life choices only have value if affirmed by others. James realized: "I don't owe anything to anyone. I didn't have anything to prove. I could be the writer; I could be the artist. I could be the person that I want." James' indebtedness to Morrison extends further into the Anisfield-Wolf canon—Edwidge Danticat, Arnold Rampersad, Wole Soyinka are among the winners he referenced as he accepted his prize for 2014's "A Brief History of Seven Killings" at the sold-out awards ceremony at Playhouse Square. As is our tradition, we interview each of our winners prior to the hustle of the evening to get their quiet thoughts on what being recognized means to... Read More →

WATCH: Jericho Brown On Winning The 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Prize: “The Writing I Do Is Part Of A Tradition”

"My idols sat around and read my book, y'all," Jericho Brown remarked from the podium at the 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards ceremony. Moments later he launched into "Labor," a piece featured in his 2014 collection, The New Testament.  As is our tradition, we caught up with Brown in a few quiet moments before this year’s ceremony to hear his thoughts on being honored with the 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for poetry: Jericho Brown, 2015 Anisfield-Wolf award winner for poetry from Anisfield Wolf on Vimeo.   Read More →

READ: Jericho Brown’s Striking New Poem, “The Tradition”

Poet Jericho Brown, winner of an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award this year, has written a 14-line poem that begins with the names of flowers and concludes with the names of men.  He calls it “The Tradition.”  Brown notes, “The poet’s relationship to language and form is an addiction where what’s past is present, a video on loop. Not watching won’t make what that video says about our future go away.” He made this observation to accompany “The Tradition” as the American Academy of Poets sent it to some 300,000 readers August 7, part of its “Poem a Day” project, which has been distributing poetry digitally since 2006.  A native of Louisiana and  a professor of English at Emory University, Brown will accept his Anisfield-Wolf prize in Cleveland next month for his second... Read More →

Meet Our 2015 Winners In And Around Cleveland This September

Anisfield-Wolf award winners are—almost by definition—civic minded. They continue a generous tradition of adding extra public conversations each September in Cleveland. For those readers whose schedules don’t allow them to attend the awards ceremony or who want more than one chance to hear these gifted writers, here are the details: Poet Marilyn Chin, a professor at San Diego State University, will read and discuss her work in Hard Love Province.  She will appear alongside John Carroll University’s Phil Metres, whose recent book, Sand Opera, has also drawn national honors. Both writers ponder identity, culture and Diaspora. They will appear at noon Wednesday, September 9 in the atrium of MOCA Cleveland, 11400 Euclid Ave.     Historian Richard S. Dunn will give a... Read More →
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