Simone White, (T)rap Music & Poetry
Presented by The Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh
Saturday, February 29
Kelly Strayhorn Theater
5941 Penn Ave
Pay What Makes You Happy!
Award-winning poet Simone White hosts IN THE OPEN / IN SECRET / A BLACK FUTURES / POETRY PARTY where we undertake to heal ourselves / with the presence of others / gathering the urge to be together / black peace is a kind of dreaming / inside the scale of our work / finding in our heart / a means, or completion of means / as invitation.
This event will feature guest artists Tongo Eisen-Martin and Jaamil Olawale Kosoko.
Photo by Courtesy of the Artist.
(T)rap Music & Poetry is a part of Black to the Future.
Black to the Future: A Festival of Art, Social Justice, and Dreaming, is a reframing of what it means to celebrate Black History Month. The Festival has an eye toward the relationship between remembering and reimagining; it’s a way to honor the past while simultaneously creating the future we want to live in. With concepts from AfroFuturists in mind, Black to the Future brings together “the imagination, technology, the future, and liberation” via experimentation and a redefinition of culture and blackness itself. Black to the Future focuses on the critical impact of art, poetry, and music in helping to change culture so that what we dream will become reality.
Curated by Yolanda Covington-Ward, Dawn Lundy Martin, and Nicole Mitchell Gantt.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Simone White was born Middletown, Connecticut, and raised in Philadelphia. She earned her BA from Wesleyan University, JD from Harvard Law School, and MFA from the New School. White is the author of the full-length collection House Envy of All the World (2010) and the chapbooks Dolly (2008) and Unrest (2013). Her work has been praised for its innovative complexity, allusive song, and “lyric deconstruction of desire, entitlement, blackness, the domestic, language and diction,” in the words of Anna Moschovakis. White has received fellowships from Cave Canem and was selected as a New American Poet for the Poetry Society of America. She is completing a PhD in English at the CUNY Graduate Center and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Jaamil Olawale Kosoko is a Nigerian-American curator, poet, and performance artist from Detroit, Michigan. He is a 2017 Jerome artist-in-residence with Abrons Arts Center, a 2017 Association of Performing Arts Presenters Leadership Fellow, a 2015 American Express Leadership Fellow, a 2012 Live Arts Brewery Fellow as part of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, a 2011 Fellow as part of the DeVos Institute of Art Management at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and an inaugural graduating member of the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University. He has held producing and curatorial positions at New York Live Arts, 651 Arts, and The Watermill Center, among others. Kosoko is the recipient of a 2018 NEFA National Dance Project Award, a 2019 DiP Residency and Production Grant Award from Gibney, a 2018 Live Feed Residency from New York Live Arts, a 2016 Gibney Dance boo-koo residency, and a 2016 U.S. Artists International Award from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. His work has received support from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through Dance Advance, The Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, The Joyce Theater Foundation, and The Philadelphia Cultural Fund. Kosoko has created original roles in the performance works of visual artist Nick Cave, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Keely Garfield Dance, Miguel Gutierrez and The Powerful People, and Headlong Dance Theater, among others. Kosoko’s poems, interviews, and essays have been published in The American Poetry Review, Poems Against War, The Dunes Review, Silo, Detroit Research v2, Dance Journal (PHL), the Broad Street Review (PHL), MR’s Performance Journal, and Critical Correspondence (NYC). He continues to guest teach, speak, and lecture throughout the U.S. and abroad. His performance work #negrophobia received a 2016 New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Award nomination and toured throughout Europe.
Tongo Eisen-Martin was born in San Francisco and earned his MA at Columbia University. He is the author of someone’s dead already (Bootstrap Press, 2015), nominated for a California Book Award; and Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights, 2017), which received a 2018 American Book Award, a 2018 California Book Award, was named a 2018 National California Booksellers Association Poetry Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the 2018 Griffin International Poetry Prize. In their citation, the judges for the Griffin Prize wrote that Eisen-Martin’s work “moves between trenchant political critique and dreamlike association, demonstrating how, in the right hands, one mode might energize the other—keeping alternative orders of meaning alive in the face of radical injustice … His poems are places where discourses and vernaculars collide and recombine into new configurations capable of expressing outrage and sorrow and love.” Eisen-Martin is also an educator and organizer whose work centers on issues of mass incarceration, extrajudicial killings of Black people, and human rights. He has taught at detention centers around the country and at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University. He lives in San Francisco.