Good morning, Chattanooga, Shari here. Tomorrow is Black Poetry Day, a day meant to celebrate + appreciate the literary contributions of Black poets + authors.
You’ve probably heard of James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, and my personal favorite – Langston Hughes – and may have even memorized some of their poems. Or maybe you’re like me + have recently discovered Sonia Sanchez after her poem Catch the Fire was featured in an episode of HBO’s Lovecraft Country last weekend. Side note: who else is loving this show?
And as much as I love those poets, I feel so much pride when I learn about a local Black poet like Ishmael Reed, especially when I find a piece like his poem, Chattanooga. Ishmael has written 30+ books of poetry, plays, essays, fiction, and nonfiction.📚
If you’re anything like me – then you know nothing says fall mood like picking up a book of poetry from a local bookstore like Winder Binder + heading to a park for some time in this gorgeous October weather. And once you’re done with his poetry, I recommend giving his plays a try.
Ishmael’s latest play is called The Haunting of Lin Manuel Miranda and is a rebuttal against Lin Manuel Miranda AND his hit musical Hamilton – and the theatre major in me absolutely cannot wait to read it. 🎭
I also highly recommend Frank X Walker. I met Frank in 2017 during the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Lexington, Kentucky, where he led an incredible writer’s workshop along with Atlanta poet Theresa Davis. I got to spend some time with him afterward + told him that I’d love to win an Oscar for screenwriting one day. We took this picture together + he held out a lollipop and said, “This lollipop represents that Oscar.”
It was a wonderful time, and while reading poetry on your own is always lovely, if you have the chance to get out + hear someone read poetry live, do it.
ProTip: Erika Roberts, AKA Velvet Poetry, is a local black poet + icon.