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Tag Archives: Cleveland Book Week

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 speak to me," she recalled asking of the document. "Please show me something I haven't already seen." Later in the reading, she explained the significance of the title poem, which came to her during a visit to a small Georgia town. A woman, part of... 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 “Ash” by Tracy K. Smith.  Campus International is part of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. City of Growing Up City of pleasant party people City with gangs City with learning City before cruelness before being anxious City that... 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 with musicality in the written word. She's also spent more than 40 years in the classroom, a pioneer of black studies and women’s studies on college campuses. For these contributions, she'll be honored on Thursday night with the 2019 Anisfield-Wolf... Read More →

Starting Cleveland Book Week With A Look At How Literacy Changes Lives

Margo Hudson Margo Hudson, a Clevelander who won the National Learner Award in Dallas two years ago, reflected recently on how “literacy turned chaos into opportunity.” Her remarks kicked off the 2018 edition of Cleveland Book Week and attracted an early morning crowd to the East Cleveland Public Library under the banner of Creative Mornings – Cleveland. After 11 years spent sitting for six tests, Hudson earned her GED – a fortitude reflected in her erect posture, elegant up-do and patience with audience questions. She said Seeds of Literacy provided the format — one-on-one tutoring — that allowed her to learn best. “Literacy has made my life limitless,” said Hudson, who now tutors in math. “I am a different person, with a different life now. I am always learning. I am always... Read More →

When A Haircut’s Not Just A Haircut: Uplifting Black Boys In The Pages Of “Crown”

Barnes and Crown illustrator Gordon C. James will speak in Cleveland at the tail end of Cleveland Book Week. This event, sponsored by the Cleveland Public Library, the Schubert Center for Children’s Studies and Anisfield-Wolf, will be held September 29 at 2 p.m., at the main library branch downtown. The first few pages of Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut look like a coronation. The 2017 children’s book written by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James features a young black boy holding center court, getting draped with a cape and surrounded by well-wishers. The theme of the book is simple, Barnes says: to celebrate the black boy joy that erupts after a turn in the barber’s chair. For Barnes himself, that feeling came on Thursdays as a boy in a Kansas City barbershop.... Read More →

LISTEN: Karan Mahajan Interviewed On Professional Book Nerds Podcast

At the tail end of Cleveland Book Week, Adam Sockel and Jill Grunenwald, hosts of the "Professional Book Nerds" podcast, interviewed Karan Mahajan, our 2017 co-winner for fiction. Their conversation centered on Mahajan's award-winning "The Association of Small Bombs," the difficulties of writing about terrorism, and the proliferation of books on the subject after 9/11. The podcast is a production of OverDrive, the leading app for eBooks and audiobooks available through public libraries and schools, headquartered in Cleveland. In the weekly podcast, hosts Sockel and Grunenwald chat about the best books they've read, give personalized recommendations, and share about upcoming releases across genres. Dive into their 30-minute conversation with Mahajan here below. Read More →

WATCH: Poets From Twelve Literary & Performative Arts Bring Anisfield-Wolf To Public Transit

One idea to make the morning commute more bearable for Clevelanders? Add a bit of poetry. That theory was tested this past September as local poets from Twelve Literary and Performative Arts set up shop on RTA platforms across the city to perform samples from Anisfield Wolf authors for the duration of Cleveland Book Week. Riders heard snippets from Jericho Brown's "The New Testament" and Marilyn Chin's "Hard Love Province," along with five other authors and original works from the local poets. These informal poetry readings were an expansion of the Inter|Urban public art project, a 19-mile stretch of vibrant literary-inspired murals and photo installations along the RTA's Red Line. Recently, the project expanded into University Circle with a mural inspired by Tyehimba Jess'... Read More →

Cleveland Book Week Highlights: Isabel Allende Speaks At The City Club Of Cleveland

During Cleveland Book Week, the incomparable Isabel Allende joked at age 75 about her new boyfriend, and about her approach to literature: "I've been writing for 35 years and I have no idea how I do it. I don't have an idea of what the book is about until it's published and I read the reviews," she quipped in a talk on life and literature at the City Club of Cleveland. She begins each book on January 8, commemorating the day she sat down at her kitchen table -- a stymied 40-year-old exile -- to begin a letter to her century-old grandfather. That letter poured out of her until it became The House of the Spirits, which launched Allende onto a global stage. It led to her being named this year’s Anisfield-Wolf recipient for lifetime achievement. "Having a sacred day to start... Read More →

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 →
  • 2019 Winners Announced

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