#tbt: Kazim Ali, “Bright Felon Deleted Scene 3″

Ali, Kazim R-300-6

This week’s selection for Throw Back Thursday is “Bright Felon Deleted Scene 3″ from Kazim Ali’s collection Sky Ward (2013). It contains its own “throwback,” a reference to Bright Felon, Ali’s 2009 book.    Ali reinvents possibilities for the personal lyric and narrative in his writing. While in Bright Felon, he works through exile and criminality, Sky Ward weaves a story of mythology with the daily trials of life that we all know intimately. The lines between the ethereal and mundane are blurred. This poem, from Sky Ward, is a “Deleted Scene” of sorts, from Bright Felon. Bright Felon Deleted Scene 3 Amelia looking at photographs of my vacation says, “There are no people in them!” There are only mountains, clouds, empty streets, two pictures of my back. Unconfined in silence…

#WCW: Jill Sigman’s Performative Installations


The work of choreographer Jill Sigman exists at the intersection of dance, theater, and visual installation. Described as an artist of “prodigious imagination and intelligence” by The New York Times, Sigman transforms simple actions like walking on eggshells, sliding down the stairs, and eating hot pink roses into complex statements about self, society, and human experience. Wesleyan University Press will publish Sigman’s Ten Huts in Spring 2017. The Hut Project, a series of installations made from debris and found objects, will be documented in the book. Photographed here is a miniature hut created by Signman on Monday, September 28th, using found objects at Wesleyan University Press.  

#tbt: “A Blessing,” by James Wright

Wright-Branch New_R_72_3

Today’s Throwback Thursday selection is a James Wright poem found in a forthcoming poetry collection for children: Book of Nature Poetry. The poem was originally published in Wright’s 1963 volume, The Branch Will Not Break, which is also available as an adorable mini-book.   “A Blessing” by James Wright from The Branch Will Not Break (Wesleyan UP, 1963) Also found in The Book of Nature Poetry (National Geographic Society, 2015), from which this photograph was taken.

#tbt: Dennis Hinrichsen, “Autobiography”


This week’s selection for Throw Back Thursday is “Autobiography” from Dennis Hinrichsen’s Collection The Attraction of Heavenly Bodies (1983). His newest collection of poetry entitled Kurosawa’s Dog (2009) was published by the Oberlin College Press and is available through University Press of New England.                     Autobiography The city of my birth is renowned for its mathematical confusion of streets. Each day they merge until they become like hands that can only point in one cardinal direction at a time. These all point down. And there are always creatures lining up on them, juggling their wares, applying their make-up for the one or two lines they will speak. How to tell them their lives have become as unassuming as the underwater life…

De Lavallade, Faison & Wilkinson reflect on Janet Collins & their careers


  Panelists include Carmen de Lavallade, George Faison, and Raven Wilkinson. Sunday, September 20th 2PM Barnes & Noble, 150 East 86th Street (86th & Lexington Ave.), New York, NY 212-369-2180 Moderated by author Yaël Tamar Lewin, to celebrate the paperback edition of Night’s Dancer: The Life of Janet Collins. A panel of renowned artists will reflect on Collins and her career, and discuss their own experiences as African-American performers in a racially segregated United States. There will also be a brief reading from the book and a screening of historical film clips. Carmen de Lavallade is an award-winning dancer, choreographer, and actress. She performed with the Lester Horton Dance Theater and Alvin Ailey Dance Company and has appeared on Broadway (House of Flowers) and off (Othello,…

#tbt: Young Union “Soldiers”


Today’s Throwback Thursday images are from the book Heroes for all Time: Connecticut Civil War Soldiers Tell Their Stories. These photographs depict two rather young Union “soldiers”.   The name of boy on the left has been lost to history. He was most likely a former slave who sought shelter with Union soldiers. Many such boys and young men became servants to Union soldiers—cooking, washing clothes, cutting wood, and tending to gear. Some traveled North after the close of the war, to continue working as attendants in the homes of returning soldiers. On the right is Robert Morton, who worked as a servant for Union soldier Robert Potter during the war. As with many African American people who hired themselves to Union soldiers, little is known…

Night’s Dancer: The Life of Janet Collins

Photo by Carl Van Vechten. Courtesy of the Van Vechten Trust
and the Carl Van Vechten Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature,
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Janet Collins (1917–2003) was a renowned dancer, painter, and the first African-American soloist ballerina to appear on the stage of New York’s Metropolitan Opera. It took her many years of resolve, facing the blatant racism that existed in the dance community (as it did elsewhere in the United States), to achieve the status of prima ballerina at the Met. In fact, at age 15 she was offered a position with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, with the caveat that she would “paint her face white.” Collins declined. But she did not give up.   Night’s Dancer: The Life of Janet Collins, recipient of the Marfield Prize, the National Award for Arts Writing, and now available in paperback. The first two chapters are comprised of Collins’s unfinished autobiography.…

#tbt: Joe Wenderoth, “After”

Wenderoth, Joe 2003

Today’s Throwback Thursday poem is Joe Wenderoth’s “After,” from Disfortune (1995). Wesleyan University Press also published his book It Is If I Speak (2000).                                                           After Knowing then like anyone only what I know, an unworn body, the necessity of going on without myself, going on. I’m almost alone, save this breath against the back of your neck. this arm under your breasts, save this heart’s beat. Eyes closed, I’m trying to imagine the shape of your face, and there is at last time for such shapes, there is at last kept by the weak pulse of others’ voices, erratic as a weak pulse…