“I am deliberate / and afraid / of nothing”—Poetry and Protest: a day in honor of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker

“I am deliberate / and afraid / of nothing”—Poetry and Protest: a day in honor of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker

This special event, supported in part by a grant to the Academy of American Poets from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of Poetry Coalition programs, is free and open to the public. 

The Poetry Center at San Francisco State University, as part of a nationwide series of Poetry Coalition programs under the shared rubric “I am deliberate / and afraid / of nothingPoetry and Protest, has dedicated Thursday March ​19, 2020, ​as a day to honor the legacy of poets Audre Lorde and Pat Parker. This daylong series of events will be a gathering of writers and artists, students, and public audience, “after” and in honor of the work, spirit, and continued influence of these two Black lesbian friends, dedicated activists, and outstanding, outspoken poets.

“I am deliberate / and afraid / of nothingPoetry and Protest
A day in honor of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker
Thursday March 19, 2020

1:00 pm Judy Grahn, Jewelle Gomez, and Avotcja
7:00 pm Arisa White, Leila Weefur, and Angela Hume
@ The Poetry Center

Humanities 512, San Francisco State University
free and open to the public
co-sponsored by The Poetry Center and Women and Gender Studies, San Francisco State

supported in part by a grant to the Academy of American Poets from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of Poetry Coalition programs

Featured videos:

Pat Parker and Audre Lorde: February 7, 1986

Audre Lorde: September 26, 1974

Special Feature, Black Women in the Archives
Selected by Arisa White, this group of historic recordings features, in alphabetical order, original Poetry Center readings by Ai, Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lucille Clifton, Jayne Cortez, Wanda Coleman, Audre Lorde, June Jordan, and Pat Parker. Fourteen featured recordings of nine poets range across four decades—from October 1971, as Maya Angelou reads and remarks on her poems collected after the grand success of her autobiography, I Know the Caged Bird Sings, to April 2013, when Wanda Coleman in one of the last public appearances of her life reads from her Poetry Center Book Award book, The World Falls Away. The entirety makes up a singular curriculum for study.
“Watching these videos,” Arisa White writes in her piece “In Praise of Our Black Women Poets” at LitHub, “I entered into a different geological layer within myself. It wasn’t lost on me that the recordings I wanted digitized were from the decades of my birth, childhood, and adolescence. The way these poets occupied space and time was a home-return to rooms that were my own and also part of the grand room of black women poetry. The houses that their poems built offered ways to construct particular experiences and enabled me to have a sense of the future: a future for my poetry…. I wanted others to have access to their presence, to know the poem’s primary sounding, the wisdom they’d shared—just seeing how they shaped the space around them would lend a deeper understanding to the architecture of their poems. I decided to focus the digital collection on the black women who had died.”
Video stills: Audre Lorde and Pat Parker, February 7, 1986, at The Women's Building, San Francisco.