Campus News

"leadbelly" Poet Tyehimba Jess to Give Reading Sept. 7

Story posted August 23, 2006

Tyehimba Jess

Award-winning poet Tyehimba Jess will give a public reading of his poetry at Bowdoin College at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 7, 2006, at the Donald B. MacMillan House, 5 McKeen Street. Admission is free.

Tyehimba Jess's first book of poetry, leadbelly (Verse Press, 2005), was a National Poetry Series selection, and was voted one of three best poetry books of 2005 by Black Issues Book Review.

The Detroit native was recognized as one of 2005's 18 debut poets to watch by Poets & Writer's magazine. Among his many awards for poetry are the 2001 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Poetry Award, an Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship in Poetry for 2000-2001, and the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award.

He was on the 2000 and 2001 Chicago Green Mill Slam teams, was a 2004-05 Winter Writing Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and received a 2005 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Jess also won the 1994 Sister Cities Poetry contest, and served as Chicago's Poetry Ambassador to Accra, Ghana.

A New York University and Cave Canem alumnus, Jess is a member of the creative writing faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

leadbelly is a verse biography of the blues legend.

Jess's fiction and poetry have been widely anthologized, appearing in such collections as Soulfires: Young Black Men on Love and Violence (Penguin Books, 1996), Slam: The Competitive Art of Performance Poetry (Manic D Press, 2000), Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (Three Rivers Press, 2001), Beyond The Frontier: African American Poetry for the Twenty-First Century (Black Classic Press, 2002), Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art (Third World Press, 2002), and Dark Matter 2: Reading the Bones (Aspect Press, 2004). His first non-fiction book, African American Pride: Celebrating our Achievements, Contributions, and Legacy (Citadel Press, 2003), was published in December 2003.

leadbelly is available at Gulf of Maine Books on Maine Street in Brunswick and the Bowdoin College Bookstore, and will be on sale at the event.

Jess's Bowdoin visit is sponsored by From the Fishouse, an online audio archive of emerging poets, in conjunction with Bowdoin's Office of Residential Life.

Visit From the Fishouse to listen to poems by Tyehimba Jess.

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