Poet Gwendolyn Brooks
and others to celebrate African-American poetry on Oct. 28
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gwendolyn
Brooks, one of America's most revered cultural figures, will join
a host of other notable guests for a special evening devoted to
African-American poetry and jazz at U.Va. Oct. 28.
8 p.m. event, free and open to the public in Old Cabell Hall Auditorium,
marks the publication of two books by the University
Press of Virginia that focus on African-American poetry: "Harlem
Gallery" and Other Poems of Melvin B. Tolson, edited by U.Va.
Raymond Nelson, and The Furious Flowering of African American
Poetry, a major collection of interviews and essays edited by
James Madison University English professor Joanne V. Gabbin.
Brooks, Nelson and Gabbin will be Tolson's son, Melvin Tolson
Jr. The Free Bridge Quintet, a U.Va. jazz faculty ensemble, and
vocalist Kyra Gaunt, an assistant professor in the Music Department,
will perform at the event.
Free Bridge Quintet, whose members teach as performance faculty
at the University, consists of Jeff Decker on tenor saxophone,
John D'earth on trumpet, Bob Hallahan on piano, Pete Spaar on
acoustic bass and drummer Robert Jospé.
Brooks, who in 1949 became the first black poet to win the Pulitzer
Prize, is the author of many popular poems that deal with everyday
life of urban African Americans. Born in 1917, she has lived in
Chicago most of her life.
poetry collections include A Street in Bronzeville, The Bean Eaters,
Selected Poems, In the Mecca and Children Coming Home. She served
as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985-86.
new collection of Tolson's poems brings together for the first
time the full body of poetry of one of black America's most important
modern voices. It includes an introduction by U.Va. English professor
and former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove.
Madison University English professor Joanne V. Gabbin edited The
Furious Flowering of African American Poetry, a collection of
interviews and essays about black poetry, with its wellsprings
in jazz and vernacular culture and its inescapable political dimension.
The volume grew out of a major conference at JMU in 1994.