Date and Time
Jan 26, 2022 6:00 pm
THE FUTURE OF BLACK is an anthology of poems and art exploring Afrofuturism, science fiction, and speculative fiction by Black writers and writers of color. Editors Cynthia Manick and Len Lawson come together with writers Saida Agostini and Teri Ellen Cross Davis to share insight into the journey and process of creating this work, and the concept of Afropessimism as an opportunity to think in provocative and disruptive ways. In this book we explore the injustices done to black children starting at a school level, as well as the potential education has to provide young black students with the inspiration and expression to reach for levels of freedom and equality that have yet to be seen. At the heart of this book are the concepts of black suffering, black fugitivity, and black futurity. Through those lenses the reader is invited to make sense of the contemporary black condition, and we’ll hear from our guests what their process was like examining black educational opportunity, outcome, and experience. This event is free and open to all, accessible through our Facebook and Youtube pages (@busboysandpoets).
Our event begins at 6:00pm with an introduction from a member of our team, after which our four fantastic guests will launch into their panel discussion. Copies of the book will be available before and during the event. Each copy includes a complimentary original limited edition 6x9 inch THE FUTURE OF BLACK poster!
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Cynthia Manick is the author of No Sweet Without Brine (Amistad-HarperCollins, forthcoming 2023), editor of The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry (Blair Publishing, 2021), and author of Blue Hallelujahs (Black Lawrence Press, 2016). She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, MacDowell Colony, and Château de la Napoule among others. Winner of the Lascaux Prize in Collected Poetry, Manick is Founder of the reading series Soul Sister Revue; and her poem "Things I Carry Into the World" was made into a film by Motionpoems, an organization dedicated to video poetry, and has debuted on Tidal for National Poetry Month. A storyteller and performer at literary festivals, libraries, universities, and most recently the Brooklyn and Frye museum’s, Manick’s work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day Series, Callaloo, Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB), The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She currently serves on the board of the International Women’s Writing Guild and the editorial board of Alice James Books.
Len Lawson is the author of Chime (Get Fresh Books, 2019) and the chapbook Before the Night Wakes You (Finishing Line Press, 2017). He is also co-editor of Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race (Muddy Ford Press, 2017) and The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry (Blair Press, 2021). His poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He has received fellowships from Tin House, Palm Beach Poetry Festival, Callaloo, Vermont Studio Center, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts among others. His poetry appears in African American Review, Callaloo, Mississippi Review, Ninth Letter, Verse Daily, and has been translated internationally. Len earned his Ph.D. in English Literature and Criticism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is currently Assistant Professor of English at Newberry College.
Saida Agostini is a queer Afro-Guyanese poet whose work explores the ways that Black folks harness mythology to enter the fantastic. Saida’s first collection of poems, let the dead in, was a finalist for the Center of African American Poetry & Poetics’ 2020 Book Prize as well as the New Issues Poetry Prize. She is the author of STUNT (Neon Hemlock, October 2020), a chapbook exploring the history of Nellie Jackson, a Black woman entrepreneur who operated a brothel for sixty years in Natchez, Mississippi. Her poetry can also be found in the Black Ladies Brunch Collective's anthology Not Without Our Laughter, Barrelhouse Magazine, Hobart Pulp, Plume, and other publications. A Cave Canem Graduate Fellow, Saida has been awarded honors and support for her work by the Watering Hole and Blue Mountain Center, as well as a 2018 Rubys Grant funding travel to Guyana to support the completion of her first manuscript. She is a Best of the Net Finalist and a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee.
Teri Ellen Cross Davis is the author of Haint (Gival Press, 2016), winner of the 2017 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. She is a Cave Canem fellow and works as the poetry coordinator for the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. She lives in Maryland.