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Continuing to highlight the topic of Mental Health Awareness we would like to introduce you to Ebony Stewart. She is a slam poet artist that tours internationally. In her work she illustrates her life experiences as a black woman. Spotlighting the topics of sexuality, race, gender and mental health. Ebony is also pursuing her license as a clinical therapist. She hopes people will relate to her poems and encourage dialog about these important subjects.
For the last week of #NationalPoetryMonth we would like to highlight the topic of mental health since we are approaching May which is #MentalHealthAwarnessMonth. The first poet We would like to present is Neil Hilborn. He is a College National Poetry Slam champion. He got his degree in creative writing at Macalester College and is also the co-founder of a Macalester literary magazine called Thistle. In a lot of his work, he illustrates what his life is like living with his mental illnesses. Neil became noticed online when a video of him at a poetry slam reciting his poem “OCD” became viral.
Watch this TEDTalk to hear Neil talk a little bit about his story and read his most famous poem:
Listen to Neil read his poem “You Can’t Be Depressed”:
Poet Laureate of the United States Joy Harjo, June 6, 2019. Harjo is the first Native American to serve as poet laureate and is a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation. Photo by Shawn Miller/Library of Congress. Note: Privacy and publicity rights for individuals depicted may apply.
Continuing our week of highlighting Indigenous poets this #NationalPoetryMonth, allow us to present Joy Harjo, the current U.S. Poet Laureate and the first Native American appointed to the role.
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harjo is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and belongs to the Oce Vpofv (Hickory Ground). Her award-winning work includes nine books of poetry, two children’s books, two memoirs, and seven music albums. Her most recent book of poetry, American Sunrise, was published in 2019. Her Poet Laureate Project, entitled “Living Nations, Living Words,” is an interactive Story Map and a Library of Congress audio collection of work by Native American poets.
Learn more about Joy Harjo and her work on her website.
Listen to Joy read and discuss her poetry during the virtual National Book Festival 2020:
For more information, contact your library!
This week for #NationalPoetryMonth, we are exploring Indigenous poets. To start this week, we are acknowledging that our institutions are on the traditional territory of the Abenaki Nation.
Cheryl Savageau is an Abenaki and French poet. Cheryl’s poetry frequently retells Abenaki stories, and she also describes her bipolar disorder. Joseph Bruchac of the Abenaki Nation is a poet from the Adirondack region of New York; he is involved in environmental education and some of his poems, such as “Transplanting Trees” and “Sun Moves” reflect his interest in nature. Stay tuned for more Indigenous poets later this week!
Another Asian American poet that we would like to celebrate this week for #NationalPoetryMonth is Tina Chang. She is an editor, a professor and the first woman to be named Poet Laureate of Brooklyn. Tina earned her BA at Binghamton University, and MFA at Columbia University. She is currently the Director of Creative Writing at Binghamton. Tina is the author of three poetry collections: Hybrida (W. W. Norton, May 2019), Of Gods & Strangers (Four Way Books, 2011), and Half-Lit Houses (Four Way Books, 2004). If you would like to find more information about Tina Chang and her Poetry, check out her website.
Feel free to watch this video of her reading “My Father. A Tree.”
Tina Chang reads from “The Revolutionary Kiss,” a poem featured in her latest collection, Hybrida.
For more information, contact your library!
This week for #NationalPoetryMonth we are celebrating Asian American poets! With so many to choose from, a good place to start is with Janice Mirikitani and Marilyn Chin. Janice Mirikitani (1941–) was born in California. She was interned in a camp in Arkansas during World War II and uses poetry to advocate for women and poor people, as well as addressing war, institutional racism, and more. Marilyn Chin (1955–) was born in Hong Kong and raised in Portland. Not only does she write poetry, she also translates poems by Ai Qing, a modern Chinese poet, and co-translates poems by Gozo Yoshimasu, a Japanese poet.
Listen to Maya Angelou in “Try to Be a Rainbow in Somebody Else’s Cloud” for #NationalPoetryMonth. Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was known for her rhythmic poetry and wrote poems such as “Still I Rise.” She was born in Missouri and lived in North Carolina at the time of her death. You can find many books, eBooks and other resources to learn more about Maya Angelou, her poetry, and autobiographies through the libraries at the Vermont State Colleges. If you want help locating more information about Maya Angelou, contact your library!
Calvin Coolidge Library’s primary mission is to foster information literacy and provide our community with access to collections that support research, teaching and learning, intellectual curiosity and enrichment, and civic engagement.