Lineage: From the Black Arts Movement to Cave Canem: Nikki Giovanni, Haki Madhubuti, Toi Derricotte, Kyle Dargan, Gregory Pardlo, & Rachel Eliza Griffiths (2016)

The O.B. Hardison Poetry Series presented Creating Lineage: From the Black Arts Movement to Cave Canem on June 13, 2016 at 7:30pm in the Folger's Elizabethan Theatre. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Black Arts Movement and the 20th anniversary of Cave Canem, poet and author Kwame Alexander moderated a conversation with three pillars from the Black Arts Movement: Nikki Giovanni, Haki Madhubuti, and Sonia Sanchez. Following the conversation was a poetry reading highlighting Cave Canem’s role in advancing African American poetry. The reading featured Cave Canem co-founder Toi Derricotte, former Cave Canem fellows Gregory Pardlo (2015 Pulitzer Prize-winner), Kyle Dargan (Cave Canem Prize 2007), and Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

This event was supplemented by and additional event, Cave Canem Drops the Mic from 5:30pm-6:45pm. There was an open-mic reading of Cave Canem fellows past and present, including Joel Dias-Porter, Kamilah Aisha Moon, Jacqueline Johnson, Sharon Dennis Wyeth, host Alan King, and more. Cave Canem fellows poets books were sold after the open-mic in the Paster Reading Room.

Cave Canem is a home for the many voices of African American poetry and is committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets. After 20 years, the organization has a world-class faculty and a national fellowship of 400; awards garnered by fellows include, among many others, the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the Whiting Writers' Award, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize, the NAACP Image Award, the Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, the National Poetry Series Selection, and Ruth Lilly and Lannan fellowships.

Black Arts Movement

Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni has been awarded an unprecedented 7 NAACP Image Awards. She is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech.

Sonia Sanchez

Sonia Sanchez is a poet, activist, scholar, and author of sixteen books. She is the recipient of both the Robert Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime service to American poetry and the Langston Hughes Poetry Award.

Sanchez has read for the O.B. Hardison Poetry series twice previously, on February 13, 2006 and September 17, 1990.

Haki Madhubuti

Haki Madhubuti has published more than 20 books of poetry, nonfiction, and critical essays, and his work has been widely anthologized. His awards including an American Book Award and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander is a poet, children's book author, playwright, producer, and the author of fourteen books including Crush: Love Poems for Teenagers, and a children's picture book. He won a Newbery Medal for his book The Crossover, written in verse.

Cave Canem

Toi Derricotte

Toi Derricotte is the author of The Undertaker’s Daughter and four earlier collections of poetry, as well as a literary memoir.

Derricotte has read for the O.B. Hardison Poetry series twice previously, on January 24, 2000 and November 19, 1990.

Gregory Pardlo

Gregory Pardlo's poetry volumes include Totem (American Poetry Review/Honickman Prize) and Digest (2015 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry).

Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet, visual artist, and author of three poetry collections, most recently Lighting the Shadow.

Kyle G. Dargan

Kyle G. Dargan is the author of four collections of poetry, including Honest Engine, The Listening (Cave Canem Prize), and Bouquet of Hungers (Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in poetry).

Dargan has read for the O.B. Hardison Poetry series previously on January 11, 2010.

Reviews and excerpts

From Marginalia


. . . Listen like a safecracker, navigate

the intricate ruptures by ear: the Latin

patois of picnickers, the Slavic tongues

of lovers replacing your mouth with self-

conscious silence. You are Caliban

and Crusoe, perpetual stranger with a fork

in the socket of life’s livid grid . . .

From Digest © 2015 by Gregory Pardlo. Reprinted with permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.