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Anisfield-Wolf Community Blog

Tracy K. Smith Examines The Duty Of Poetry In Turbulent Times During Cleveland Book Week

© Hilary Bovay With the William G. Mather steamship providing a nautical backdrop, poet Tracy K. Smith brought her work to the shores of Northeast Ohio as part of the 2019 Cleveland Book Week festivities. The 2019 Anisfield-Wolf winner for poetry opened her reading with a few selections from "Wade in the Water," her 2018 award-winning collection. She began "The Everlasting Self," a short meditative poem on identity and legacy, before segueing into "Declaration," an erasure poem taken directly from the Declaration of Independence. "Please... Read More →

Young Cleveland Poet Mesmerizes Crowd At 2019 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award Ceremony

Logan Greer, 10, with Tracy K. Smith, 2019 Anisfield-Wolf award winner for poetry and the inspiration behind Logan's poem. For the past decade, Northeast Ohioans gathered for the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards ceremonies have celebrated a young poet alongside the winning authors. This year Logan Greer, 10, a fifth grader at Campus International School, set the tone with her poem, "City of Growing Up." She wrote these lines in the spring of 2019 during a class exercise with teaching artist Nicole Robinson. Logan took her inspiration from... Read More →

Sonia Sanchez Invokes The Political At Kent State University For Cleveland Book Week

Poet Sonia Sanchez launched Cleveland Book Week 2019 with a rousing, reflective performance at Kent State University, as part of the 50th anniversary May 4 commemoration events. Sanchez began the evening with "A Poem of Praise," accompanied by a reflection on Kent State students who were killed and wounded by the National Guard during the campus demonstration in 1970, chanting each by name. As one of the architects of the Black Arts Movement, Sanchez, 85, has written more than a dozen poetry books, several plays and essays, experimenting... Read More →

Reflecting On My Immigrant Experience Through Anisfield-Wolf Award Winning Books

For a few days in June, I sat down in an old building at Case Western Reserve University among 20 scholars, activists and artists to unpack the new class of books honored by the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. I spoke of the immigrant experience, of entering this country as an adult in 1998, with only some knowledge of its complex history. Back in high school in New Delhi, I did study U.S. history, but barely remembered little more than the rolling prairies and the Boston Tea Party. The America I imagined was largely the one I saw on movie screens... Read More →

REVIEW: Sarah M. Broom Brings New Orleans To Life With “The Yellow House”

The typical story set in New Orleans begins and ends somewhere in the French Quarter, but Sarah M. Broom’s meaty new memoir “The Yellow House” stretches our attention seven miles east, to the neighborhood where she and thousands of others live beyond the glitz of the city’s most famous district. Broken into four movements spanning nearly a century, “The Yellow House” is the story of connection, longing and migration. Who belongs to a city, Broom asks over 300 pages. Whose stories are worth capturing and telling? She begins... Read More →

N. Scott Momaday Honored With Dayton Literary Peace Prize

At 85, N. Scott Momaday – considered the dean of Native American literature – is attracting renewed accolades for his life’s work. In 2018, he won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and entered the National Native American Hall of Fame. In May, he received the Ken Burns American Heritage Prize and this November will be feted with a Dayton Literary Peace Prize. The poet, novelist and essayist has won the Dayton organization’s Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. It is named for the celebrated U.S. diplomat who... Read More →

The Free Black Women’s Library Is A National Movement Uplifting Black Female Authors

Akinmowo in 2015, the beginnings of the Free Black Women's Library. In 2015, Brooklyn, New York-based artist OlaRonke Akinmowo lugged 100 books -- all written by black women -- to a brownstone stoop and launched the uncertain beginnings of her newest project, the Free Black Women’s Library.  Dressed in a black tank top and gold leggings, Akinmowo danced barefoot in front of her collection “in honor of the sacred beauty” of these authors. “Black women’s words have saved my life, healed me, nurtured me and provided me with the... Read More →

With Release Of “The Nickel Boys,” Colson Whitehead Grabs The Spotlight Once Again

Photo credit: Chris Close “Even in death the boys were trouble.” Those seven words open “The Nickel Boys,” the latest novel from Colson Whitehead, who won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 2004 for “John Henry Days,” a time-traveling story that John Updike declared “refreshes our sense of the world.” In the books that followed, Whitehead, now 49, has consistently delivered on Updike’s phrase – culminating in 2016’s “The Underground Railroad,” in which he places an actual time-traveling railroad beneath the... Read More →

Eugene Gloria Mixes Cultural Influences With New Poetry Collection, “Sightseer In This Killing City”

Readers of Eugene Gloria’s poems have a cultivated patience, a relationship with time. It has been seven years since the publication of his last book, “My Favorite Warlord,” winner of an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. In 2013, Henry Louis Gates Jr. praised Gloria’s poetry by remarking on his own keen interest in genealogy. The Anisfield-Wolf jury chair located a kinship in the poet’s exploration of our origins “as a key to the present [that] is compelling, addictive, and – in the best circumstances – generative. It is this last... Read More →

An Anisfield Wolf-Inflected Reading List For India

by Lisa Nielson A colleague at the Cleveland Council on World Affairs generously nominated me for a professional exchange, sponsored by World Learning, that has me packing my bags for India. But what about books? How do I prepare for my first visit to a place with over 4,000 years of history? While I’ve lived in Jerusalem and Damascus – no slouches in the antiquity department – the weight of time and the linguistic, environmental and cultural diversity of India are daunting. Armed with a list of helpful articles and suggested reading... Read More →
  • 2019 Winners Announced

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