Tag Archives: BAM

WORD: Across Generations

WORD: Across Generations Sunday, January 17 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Victory Gardens Biograph Theater 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago

 Join The Public Square and Chicago Public Radio for WORD: Across Generations with poets Carloyn Rodgers, John Murillo, and Aja Monet.

•Carolyn Rodgers (see poem below) emerged from the Black Arts Movement in Chicago in the 1960s as a “revolutionary poet,” creating a distinct and profound black aesthetic.

•John Murillo is an Afro-Chicano poet and playwright, a graduate of New York University’s MFA program, and a recent fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

•Aja Monet is a Cuban-Jamaican poet originally from Brooklyn, now residing in Chicago. At 22 years old, she is currently the youngest Grand Slam Champion of the Lower East side’s legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Café.

Each poet will perform their work and then participate in a post-performance conversation, followed by an Open Mic Showcase. This event is taking place as part of Chicago Public Radio Presents… The 2nd Annual Winter Block Party for Chicago’s Hip-Hop Arts.

 For more about this exciting day,visit chicagopublicradio.org.

“The Block Party is a tribute to the working artist of the hip-hop generation in Chicago and an opportunity for the city, traditionally segregated, to see each other across neighborhood and viaduct.” – Winter Block Party Artistic Director Kevin Coval.

It is Deep
(don’t never forget the bridge you crossed over on)
by Carolyn Rodgers [pictured above]

Having tried to use the
witch cord
that erases the stretch of
thirty-three blocks
and tuning in the voice which
woodenly stated that the
talk box was “disconnected”
My mother, religiously girdled in
her god, slipped on some love, and
laid on my bell like a truck,
blew through my door warm wind from the south
concern making her gruff and tight-lipped
and scared
that her “baby” was starving.
she, having learned, that disconnection results from
non-payment of bill (s).
She did not
recognize the poster of the
grand le-roi (al) cat on the wall
had never even seen the books of
Black poems that I have written
thinks that I am under the influence of
“communists”
when I talk about Black as anything
other than something ugly to kill it befo it grows
in any impression she would not be
considered “relevant” or “Black”
but
there she was, standing in my room
not loudly condemning that day and
not remembering that I grew hearing her
curse the factory where she “cut uh slave”
and the cheap j-boss wouldn’t allow a union,
not remembering that I heard the tears when
they told her a high school diploma was not enough,
and here now, not able to understand, what she had
been forced to deny, still–
she pushed into my kitchen so
she could open my refrigerator to see
what I had to eat, and pressed fifty
bills in my hand saying “pay the talk bill and buy
some food; you got folks who care about you . . .”
My mother, religious-negro, proud of
having waded through a storm, is very obviously,
a sturdy Black bridge that I
crossed over, on.

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Ronald Fair: Griot of Chicago Tales

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Ronald Fair is perhaps best known as a teller of crisp, satirical, and unsentimental Chicago Tales: inner city stories of struggle, morality, and overcoming (not unlike his own Chicago story).  Born in Chicago on October 27, 1932, Fair attended public school. He was inspired as a young man by fellow Chicagoan Richard Wright to begin writing. Wright, as well as a black English teacher encouraged him to keep at his craft despite setbacks. 

Fair ultimately published various short writings in the Chicago Defender, Ebony, Chat Noir, and other publications. His first novel, Many Thousand Gone: An American Fable, was published in 1965.  The book covers the span of time from the Civil War to the 60s, and presents a fictional town called Jacobsville, Mississippi, whose residents were unaware that slavery had been abolished.   The work, through symbolism, called for Blacks to wake up and rise against the systemic oppression they were under.  

His second novel, Hog Butcher (1966), set in the 1960s, told the story of three inner city Chicago boys and one tragedy that changed a community forever. It was adapted into the film Cornbread, Earl, and Me (1975, see the theatrical trailer below).  The film starred a pre-pubescent Laurence Fishburne, and featured a grooving soundtrack composed by Donald Byrd and performed by the Blackbyrds.

Fair’s next work, World of Nothing, was published in 1970.  The work consists of two edgy, perse, short novellas: one of which dealt with sexual abuse in the Catholic church and, like Hog Butcher, featured a young central character.

Soon after the publication of Hog Butcher, Ronald Fair moved to Europe, were he remained, as he was “fed up with American racism”.  While in Europe, he published what he considered his supreme work,”We Can’t Breathe” (1972).  The book covered the lives of five Chicago friends (one of whom becomes an author), and was deeply autobiographical.  The book sold well at first, and then sales inexplicably tapered off.

Ronald Fair still writes today, but has dropped off the national literary radar, unpublished in the U.S. in more than twenty years, yet the messages within his work remain eerily pertinent for folks coming up in our hardscrabble city.

 

 

Read more: http://biography.jrank.org/pages/2345/Fair-Ronald-L.html#ixzz0QiUlGCM4