Next year marks the 50th anniversary of Broadside Press. This number represents several generations of poets who have shared Dudley Randall’s vision of the written word as a living art form intimately connected to community and to self-determination.

Two talented poets from the up-and-coming generation are Deonte Osayande and Lori E. Allan. Both authors are recent graduates of UDM. Each won awards in Dudley Randall Poetry Competitions and has read his or her work at numerous Broadside Press-sponsored events.

Osayande’s poetry has appeared in over a dozen publications. He is a powerful performance poet and the co-organizer of this year’s Rustbelt Midwest Regional Poetry Slam. He teaches creative writing to inner city youth with the Inside Out Detroit Literary Arts Project.

Allan’s talents find expression in both visual and written art. She published her first chapbook this month, entitled “You Make Life Good For Me.” She currently works with the non-profit organization, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.

I am delighted to finish my postings on Dudley Randall by sharing their poems “Masks” and “Absence” with you.

You can see Osayande perform “Masks” by clicking on the following link:

Allan’s poem can be found below.

I think you will enjoy their different images.
Rosemary Weatherston
Director, Dudley Randall Center for Print Culture

Empty in the photos
is the shape of a man
who has left a void
of himself.

The strength of his arms
lifted the glass
apart from the frame
as he climbed out of the situation.

Behind the bars,
I am confined within
the seventy-two percent
of African-American children raised
in single-parent homes.

Struggle is the only thing
showing up
in the house we live in,
the food we eat,
the look in my mother’s eyes.

Despite the chasm,
I still hear the way he says my name.
He had a photographer’s urge
to stop and capture a moment
and never developed the photo.

The void is tangible;
I hold it in my hands,
wondering if there is
a significant difference
between who I am
and who I could have been
because of what he never was—
a father.

I house his vacancy in a cautious frame, passing it by when I have what I need and climbing inside when I see that I don’t.

It is a black and white photo
that I see in color.
In his absence,
I see it all.

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