Bronzeville Out: Gwendolyn Brooks | March 7, 2017

Mar 7, 2017
4.30pm - 6pm
CSRPC, 5733 S University Ave

facebook event; event photos

CRES Talks presents: “Bronzeville Out: Gwendolyn Brooks and the Reshaping of African American Poetry”

This panel will focus on Gwendolyn Brooks's influence, impact, and legacy for African American poetry in Chicago and beyond. Panelists will discuss Brooks's role as a teacher and mentor of younger black poets in Chicago; her place in Chicago's network of Black Arts Movement writing workshops; and her example to black poets throughout the US of using new literary idioms as a vehicle for political work. Panelists will offer their thoughts on the expanding geographical horizons of Brooks's work -- from Chicago's Black Metropolis to the Pan-African world -- by reflecting on Brooks's later poetry, which oscillated in scope between the local and the transnational.

Panelists include poets and performers Angela Jackson, Parneshia Jones, Quraysh Ali Lansana, and Ed Roberson.  

Organized and moderated by Andrew Peart (PhD candidate, Department of English Language and Literature) as part of the Winter 2017 course"Gwendolyn Brooks: Poetry and Politics."

Suggested readings: Walter Bradford, "Chicago Centennial or the Town Hall Meeting" (1976); Gwendolyn Brooks, "Boys. Black" (1972); Gwendolyn Brooks, "Children Coming Home" (1991); Gwendolyn Brooks, "The Boy Died in my Alley" (1975); and Carolyn Rodgers, "Song to U. of C. - Midway Blues" (1968).  


About the panelists: 

Born in Greenville, Mississippi, poet Angela Jackson is the fifth of nine children. She spent her early life in Greenville before moving with her family to Chicago’s Southside. Jackson earned a BA at Northwestern University, where she received the Academy of American Poets Prize, and an MA in Latin American and Caribbean studies at the University of Chicago. In Chicago, she became a prominent member of the Organization of Black American Culture.

Jackson’s free verse poems weave myth and life experience, conversation, and invocation. She is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Voo Doo/Love Magic (1974); Dark Legs and Silk Kisses: The Beatitudes of the Spinners (1993), which won the Carl Sandburg Award; and National Book Award–nominated And All These Roads Be Luminous: Poems Selected and New (1998). She has also written several plays, including Witness! (1978), Shango Diaspora: An African-American Myth of Womanhood and Love (1980), and When the Wind Blows (1984). Her novel Where I Must Go (2009) won the American Book Award.
Jackson’s honors include a Pushcart Prize, TriQuarterly’s Daniel Curley Award, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award, and grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council. Jackson lives in Chicago.


Parneshia Jones studied creative writing at Chicago State University and earned an MFA from Spalding University. Her first book is Vessel (2015), and her poems have been published in anthologies such as The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), Poetry Speaks Who I Am (2010), and She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems (2011), edited by Caroline Kennedy. Jones’s poems have been featured on Chicago Public Radio, and she is a member of Affrilachian Poets, a collective of black poets from Appalachia.
The recipient of a Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, a Margaret Walker Short Story Award, and an Aquarius Press Legacy Award, Jones has received commissions from such organizations as Art for Humanity in South Africa and Shorefront Legacy in Chicago and performed her work internationally. She serves on the boards of Cave Canem and the Guild Complex and the advisory board for UniVerse: A United Nations of Poetry. She is the sales and subsidiary rights manager and poetry editor at Northwestern University Press.


Quraysh Ali Lansana is author of eight poetry books, three textbooks, three children's books, editor of eight anthologies, and coauthor of a book of pedagogy. He is a faculty member of the Writing Program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a former faculty member of the Drama Division of The Juilliard School. Lansana served as Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University from 2002-2011, where he was also Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing until 2014. Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy & Social Justice in Classroom & Community (with Georgia A. Popoff) was published in March 2011 by Teachers & Writers Collaborative and was a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee. His most recent books include Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writings of Gwendolyn Brooks w/Sandra Jackson-Opoku (Curbside Splendor, 2017); A Gift from Greensboro (Penny Candy Books, 2016); The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop w/Kevin Coval and Nate Marshall (Haymarket Books, 2015) and The Walmart Republic w/ Christopher Stewart (Mongrel Empire Press, 2014). Forthcoming titles include: The Whiskey of Our Discontent: Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience & Change Agent, w/Georgia A. Popoff (Haymarket Books, 2017), and; Clara Luper: The Woman Who Rallied the Children w/Julie Dill (Oklahoma Hall of Fame Press, 2017).


Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Ed Roberson studied painting in his youth and was educated at the University of Pittsburgh. His extensive travels inform his work, which is also influenced by spirituals and the blues, and by visual art, such as the mixed-media collages of Romare Bearden. Poet and critic Michael Palmer has called Roberson “one of the most deeply innovative and critically acute voices of our time.”

Roberson is the author of ten books of poetry, including the chapbook Closer Pronunciation (Northwestern University Press, 2013) and the collection To See the Earth before the End of the World (Wesleyan University Press, 2010). An earlier collection, Atmosphere Conditions (Green Integer, 2000), was selected for the National Poetry Series and nominated for the Lenore Marshall Award from the Academy of American Poets. He is the recipient of the 2016 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation and the 2008 Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America.

Roberson lives in Chicago, where he has taught classes and workshops at the University of Chicago, Columbia College, and Northwestern University. He has served as an instructor at the Cave Canem Retreat for Black Writers and as the Holloway Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He is Distinguished Lecturer Emeritus at Northwestern University.









From left to right:  Carolyn Cunningham; Carolyn Rodgers; Sharon Scott; Johari Amini; Mike Cook; Gwendolyn Brooks; Walter Bradford; and Haki Madhubuti. 
Photographer:  Roy Lewis


This program is presented as part of the city-wide celebration of Gwendolyn Brooks, Our Miss Brooks: A Centennial Celebration (OMB100), and UChicago's 2017 tribute, Centennial Brooks


This venue is physically accessible and has a gender-neutral restroom. Please contact the CSRPC at 773.702.8063 with any questions or accommodation requests.