BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez

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“I wanted to tell people how I became this woman with razor blades between her teeth.” BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, directed by Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater, and Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, chronicles the life and work of poet and political activist Sonia Sanchez, including her emergence as a seminal figure in the Black Arts Movement, her tireless political activism, and a poetry career so great Maya Angelou called her “a lion in literature’s forest.” Sanchez is the recipient of the 2022 Jackson Poetry Prize.

The Year of No Grudges

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“I know most people try hard / to do good and find out too late / they should have tried softer.” Andrea Gibson reads “The Year of No Grudges, or Instead of Writing a Furious Text, I Try a Poem” from their latest poetry collection, You Better Be Lightning (Button Poetry, 2021), in this video from a stage in Longmont, Colorado.

Greg Tate: What Is Hip Hop?

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“Hip-hop is Ralph Ellison, who once said the blues is like running a razor blade along an open sore.” In this audio recording from the 1996 album Flippin’ the Script: Rap Meets Poetry released by Mouth Almighty Records, author and critic Greg Tate reads his poem “What Is Hip Hop?” The influential journalist and author of Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America (Simon & Schuster, 1992), died at the age of sixty-three on December 7, 2021.

Summertime

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“These poets really took me on a journey. Through each of their poems you got to essentially travel across L.A. into different neighborhoods, into different people’s spaces,” says director Carlos López Estrada about meeting the twenty-seven spoken word poets from the nonprofit Get Lit who cowrote and are featured in his new film, Summertime.

How Houston Leads the Way: A Finale

Hey gente, happy summer! This will be my last post on this blog as the literary outreach coordinator in Houston. It’s been a pleasure sharing news and highlights over the last two years, and calling attention to all the ways that Houston is a major literary city. Things are always happening in the Bayou City and here are a few more folks and events to mention.

All the Books
I wanted to take a moment to talk about some Houstonians who have books coming out in the near future. Ayokunle Falomo’s collection AFRICANAMERICAN’T and Tamara Al-Qaisi-Coleman’s collection The Raven, the Bayou and the Willow will be published by FlowerSong Press, due out sometime in 2022. J. Estanislao Lopez’s debut collection, We Borrowed Gentleness, is forthcoming from Alice James Books in October 2022, and lastly (and as a way to welcome a new Houstonian to her new town) I’m happy to share that Ariana Brown’s debut collection, We Are Owed, will be released from Grieveland Press in July.

More Reading
Shout-out to powerhouse essayist Icess Fernandez Rojas as she interrogates and speaks truth to power about the lack of Black representation in Latinx Hollywood and offers an analysis of the new film, In the Heights, in her essay “When They Forget About Us… Again” published in Sofrito For Your Soul.

Live Events
I am excited to see all the things Houston has to offer as readings are starting to come back in front of live audiences. Last Saturday, Write About Now held their first live event since the pandemic called “Mics + Murals,” a collaborative reading with live painting and music copresented by the Station Museum of Contemporary Art.

One foot in front of the other and let’s walk together to see where the words take us.

Write About Now Mics + Murals event at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art in Houston.
 
Lupe Mendez is the literary outreach coordinator for Poets & Writers in Houston. Contact him at Houston@pw.org or on Twitter, @houstonpworg.

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