03 December 2006
"Gathering Ground" in Baltimore
What a joy it was to see so many Cave Canem fellows and poetry fans at the Pratt Library for the 10th Anniversary 'Gathering Ground' reading!
After negotiating the madness of the last ($2 a bag/box) day of our annual book sale, readers and fans gathered in the library's Wheeler Auditorium for the program....
(Carlo Paul with fellow poets in the front row)
...to hear selections from the work of Brandon D Johnson, Carleasa Coates, Carlo Paul, Carolyn Joyner, Derrick Brown and Deidre Gantt (doing the Poetic tag-team thing), Hayes Davis, Jadi Omowale, Kamilah Aisha Moon, Teri Cross, and Venus Thrash.
Special Guest Kyle Dargan invoked our forebearers by reading Etheridge Knight's "Belly Song" before reading a selection from his Cave Canem Prize Winning collection, The Listening.
"Aren't these children wonderful?" the beloved featured reader Lucille Clifton asked, before reading a much-too-short selection of poems, a series transporting the Virgin Mary to the Caribbean, and closing with a special variation on her poem "won't you celebrate with me...", changing the last lines in honor of the occasion
(Miss Clifton with Young Fans)
won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill US, CAVE CANEM
and has failed.
Readers and audience then gathered for a reception in the Library's Edgar Allen Poe Room
Tony Medina and DivineCipher's Fred Joiner
Carlo Paul and Kamilah Moon
My sister Marva and Brandon Johnson
Carleasa and Lucille
A small group of DC-area poets went to dine and talk (with a fantastic jazz soundrack in the background) at the nearby Milton's Grill
(Fred Joiner, Derrick Brown, Alan King, and Venus Thrash)
A special thanks/shout out to the Pratt staff for the great flyer (see top of post), name tags, poster, and book and window displays promoting the event, and their support during the reading and reception.
Thanks everyone for a great evening of love and verse!