On July 13, Women & Children First bookstore hosted a reading and panel discussion of Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks. This year marks the 100th birthday of the late Chicago poet.
The book is an anthology composed of numerous poems by several different poets, as well as visual art depicting Brooks' life. Four of the authors featured in the bookQuraysh Ali Lansana, Sandra Jackson-Opoku,Tara Betts and Keith S. Wilsonled the panel.
Lansana is a faculty member of the writing program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and served as as the director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University for nine years. Jackson-Opoku has written the novels The River Where Blood is Born and Hot Johnny ( and the Women Who Loved Him ), while Betts has penned Break the Habit and Arc & Hue. Wilson on the other hand, is a game designer and Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. ( The prize honors short stories, poetry and essays. )
Surrounded by a small group, each of the poets read excerpts from the book as well as some of Brooks' iconic poems, and discussed how they have influenced their writings over the years. Common themes that were discussed included motherhood, love, race and femininity. The book panel was just one of the many events being held this year to celebrate Brooks' life and contribution to African-American literature.
For more information, visit GwendolynBrooks.org .