In lieu of one of countless things I would like to blog about, I am going to do something I haven't in a while, which is to post information about an upcoming event, or rather, a series of events, involving a living legend, the great South African and Black Arts poet Keorapetse Kgositsile (1938-), who has begun a spring tour of the United States. Not only is Kgositsile one of the major poets of his country and of contemporary African literature, but during the 1960s and part of the 1970s was actively involved in the creation of the Black Art literary, cultural and political movement, and as such represents and embodies a link between the political and cultural liberation movements of Africa and the US and the Americas. The famous proto-rap group, The Last Poets, took their name from one of his poems; others who acclaimed his work included established figures like Gwendolyn Brooks, and peers like Amiri Baraka.
A quote: "In a situation of oppression, there are no choices beyond didactic writing: either you are a tool of oppression or an instrument of liberation."
He has already begun his tour, with readings in Brooklyn, down at Virginia Tech (with Nikki Giovanni, I imagine), at today at the University of Oklahoma, but he will be traveling all over the country, so if you can, do go hear him read if you can. Here's the itinerary (I cannot verify it, so please check with the institutions) that poet Tyehimba Jess forwarded to me:
March 15th (Thursday): University of California at Santa Cruz
March 16th (Friday): California College of the Arts in San Francisco, 6:00 pm
March 22nd (Thursday): Hammer Museum near UCLA, 7:00 pm
March 23rd (Friday): University of Texas at Austin
March 26th (Monday): Miami University in Ohio
March 28th (Wednesday): University of Vermont
March 29th (Thursday): U of Mass at Amherst (with Sonia Sanchez)
March 31st (Saturday): National Black Writers' Conference at Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn, 7:00 pm
April 2nd (Monday): Labyrinth Books in Princeton, 6:00 pm
April 3rd (Tuesday): George Washington University (mid-morning class); Library of Congress, 4:00 P.M.
(Gathering at the home of Dolen Perkins-Valdez)
April 4th (Wednesday): College of Staten Island, CUNY, 2:30-3:30
: The New School (6:30 p.m.)
April 5th: (Thursday): University of Pennsylvania
April 7th (Saturday): CSI in San Francisco (Lecture)
April 9th (Monday): Institute of American Indian Arts, Sante Fe
UPDATED: April 10th (Tuesday): University of Illinois at Chicago - UIC Daley Library: Poetry Reading: 4:00 pm; Poetry Workshop: 6:00 pm.
April 12th (Thursday): Vanderbilt, 7:00 pm
April 13th (Friday): NYU, 5:00 pm
April 16th (Monday): Rutgers University, New Brunswick, 4:30 pm
April 18th (Wednesday): Fairleigh Dickinson University
April 19th (Thursday): Fairleigh Dickinson University
April 20th (Friday): CUNY Graduate Center
[Waiting to Confirm--April 21st (Saturday): Kalamazoo, Michigan]
April 23rd (Monday): Northwestern University
April 24th: (Tuesday): City of Asylum, Pittsburgh with Oliver Lake
April 26th (Thursday): Gaines Center
April 30th (Monday): Brown, 4:00 pm—arrive on Sunday the 29th and return to NYC on Tuesday, May 1st, with Chinua Achebe