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Keene Public Library Participates in Virtual Poetry Series Celebrating the Rich Tradition and Innovation of African American Poetry

The Keene Public Library is excited to partner with Black Heritage Trail in a virtual poetry reading and wiring series called “Black Matter Is Life:  Poetry for Engagement and Overcoming.”  The Black Matter is Life Poetry Project organized by the Black Heritage Trail. Communities across New Hampshire are reading and studying the rich tradition and innovation found in African American Poetry.

Three online conversations will be held across three New Hampshire regions. They will be led by UNH professors Dr. Dennis Britton and Dr. Reginald A. Wilburn once a month in November, December, and January. Each discussion will take a close look at poems within the context of African American literary tradition, the cultural heritage and surroundings the traditions have encompassed, and the relevance this tradition has to us today. The first event will be November 18 at 5 p.m. titled “Signifyin(g) on Tradition” featuring Phillis Wheatley, “Imagination”; Lawrence Dunbar, “When Malindy Sings”; Langston Hughes, “Harlem” and “Theme for English B”; and Sonia Sanchez, “Haiku and Tanka for Harriet Tubman.” The following on December 9 at 5 p.m. is titled “In Protest.” The final on January 21 at 5 p.m. is “Love, Love, Love.” To register, visit

Discussions will be augmented by a Community Poem Project sponsored by the Rye Public Library, the Keene Public Library, and the Nashua Public Library. In Keene, community members are invited to meet virtually on Tuesday, December 1, at 6:30 p.m. with poet Rodger Martin to create a collaborative poem on the theme of protest. The collaborative poem will be written in response to one of these poems: The Creation by James Weldon Johnson, Litany for Survival by Audre Lorde, dear white america by Danez Smith, and Ars Poetica #1,002: Rally by Elizabeth Alexander. To register for the poetry writing workshop, please visit the Keene Public Library’s calendar at or call the library at 603-352-0157.

Facilitator Rodger Martin has written three books of poetry. He teaches journalism at Keene State College and advises The Equinox, the college’s award-winning student news organization. And he is a New Hampshire State Council on the Arts in Education roster artist and also a touring artist for the New England States Touring Foundation.

All programs at the Keene Public Library are free and open to the public. The Keene Public Library is located on 60 Winter Street Keene, N.H. for more information, please call (603) 352-0157 or visit the library’s website

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