PORTSMOUTH —The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire (BHTNH) is offering a third and final online poetry event, “The Black Matter Is Life: Poetry for Engagement and Overcoming”. This will be a virtual-only event held via zoom on Thurs., January 20, 7:00-8:30 p.m. Visit www.blackheritagetrailnh.org/poetry-events for details and registration.

The program will feature a special guest poet, Sonya Sanchez, American poet, writer, and professor, who has been a leading figure in the Black Arts Movement and has written over a dozen books of poetry as well as short stories, critical essays, plays, and children’s books. Dr. Reginald Wilburn, Dean for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas and Dr. Courtney Marshall, English Professor at Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, will host the program. They will read and discuss four selected poems with Sonya Sanchez and facilitate a conversation with participants, who will have access to the poems and a study guide prior to the event.

Kaylee Chen, a student at Phillips Exeter Academy will begin the evening with a reading of her original poem, Heritage, which was entered in a contest sponsored by the Racial Unity Team and exhibited at the Portsmouth Public Library. Amanda Gorman’s Inaugural Poem, “The Hill We Climb,” inspired Kaylee’s poem.

Based on the theme “Emphatic Affirmations”, the poems chosen for this program include “Self-Mastery”, by Cordelia Ray, “A Dance for Ma Rainey”, by Al Young, “Declaration”, by Tracy K. Smith, and “The Bronze Legacy”, by Effie Lee Newsome.

Poetry is a powerful art form that offers profound insights into what it means to be human. Through the creative, succinct, and melodious use of language, poets render into words their joys, their challenges, their vulnerabilities, and their discoveries. Black poets are in a unique position to shed light on a rich, cultural heritage that has often gone unexplored and to highlight their own personal experiences as African Americans. JerriAnne Boggis, Executive Director, states that, “The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire offers this program to introduce the public to the rich tradition and innovation found in African American poetry, as a means of building bridges across the racial divide, and as tools for healing our nation’s deep racial wounds.”

3S Artspace has partnered with the Black Heritage Trail to make this program possible. To learn more about this and other programs and to register, go to www.blackheritagetrailnh.org/events or call 603-570-8469.

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