Join New York-based poets Mariposa Fernández (Bronx), LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs (Harlem) and Patricia Spears Jones (Brooklyn) to celebrate the publication of the Library of America’s history-making anthology, African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song, edited by Kevin Young, and their place within the Black poetic tradition.
Patricia Spears Jones is a poet, educator, cultural activist, anthologist and recipient of 2017 Jackson Poetry Prize and is author of A Lucent Fire New and Selected Poems and three full-length collections and five chapbooks. She co-edited the groundbreaking anthology, Ordinary Women: An Anthology of New York City Women (1978) and THINK: Poems for Aretha Franklin’s Inauguration Day Hat (2009). Her poems are widely anthologized most notably in Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin: BAX: Best American Experimental Writing, 2016 and WORD: An Anthology by A Gathering of Tribes and Lift Every Voice: Why African American Poetry Matters Today, and in The New Yorker, www.darkmatterwomenwitnessing.com and The Brooklyn Rail. Essays, colloquies and interviews are published in Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry; The Whiskey of Our Discontent: Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience and Change Agent; and print and online journals including The Black Scholar, Bomb, for Harriet at The Poetry Foundation, www.tribes.org; The Poetry Project Newsletter, Rumpus and The Writers Chronicle. The Museum of Modern Art commissioned the poem “Lave” for the exhibition, Jacob Lawrence: The Migrations Series. She has taught Creative Writing at Hunter College, Barnard College, Adelphi University and Hollins University as the 2020 Louis D. Rubin Writer in Residence. She is Emeritus Fellow for Black Earth Institute and organizer of the American Poets Congress.
A writer, vocalist and performance/sound artist, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs is the author of TwERK (Belladonna, 2013). Diggs has presented and performed at California Institute of the Arts, El Museo del Barrio, The Museum of Modern Art, and Walker Art Center and at festivals including: Explore the North Festival, Leeuwarden, Netherlands; Hekayeh Festival, Abu Dhabi; International Poetry Festival of Copenhagen; Ocean Space, Venice; International Poetry Festival of Romania; Question of Will, Slovakia; Poesiefestival, Berlin; and the 2015 Venice Biennale. As an independent curator, artistic director, and producer, Diggs has presented events for BAMCafé, Black Rock Coalition, El Museo del Barrio, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, and the David Rubenstein Atrium. Diggs has received a 2020 C.D. Wright Award for Poetry from the Foundation of Contemporary Art, a Whiting Award (2016) and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship (2015), as well as grants and fellowships from Cave Canem, Creative Capital, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission, among others. She lives in Harlem.
Mariposa María Teresa Fernández is an award-winning Afro Puerto Rican poet, spoken word performance artist, visual artist, educator, activist, scholar and Bronx native. Her poetry has been published in African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song, The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, The Afro Latin@ Reader: History & Culture in the United States, Manteca: Anthology of AfroLatin@ Poets, Bumrush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam and Latinas: An Anthology of Struggles and Protests in 21st Century USA. She has been featured on HBO Latino in the critically acclaimed series Habla Ya! and Americanos: Latino Life in the U.S. Mariposa has performed throughout the United States & abroad, including Cuba, Germany and South Africa. Mariposa has served New York City as a teaching artist and has taught creative writing for numerous public schools and non-profit organizations. A member of the NYC Latina Writers Group, she has also led poetry workshops at the Sankofa Sisterhood Writers Retreat for BIPOC women. Mariposa is a CUNY faculty member and teaches at Herbert H. Lehman College in the Women and Gender Studies Program and the Africana Studies Department, as well as the Black Studies Program at The City College of New York. Mariposa is a proud recipient of the 2020 CUNY Adjunct Incubator grant and working on a project documenting stories of neighborhood and community resilience in the South Bronx.
The event is sponsored by Library of America, One Book One Bronx, the Leonard Lief Library, Lehman College's Africana Studies and Women's Studies departments, the School of Arts and Humanities at Lehman College, CUNY, and CUNY Center for Humanities.