Feb 13 – “. . . many Africans are not inspired and influenced by their own writers and poets – “

Friday, February 13 — “Broadside Press Poets’ Theatre . . . the entire session will be devoted to open mic (new poets are welcome)”

The Badilisha Poetry X-Change website begins with words that Dudlley Randall, UDM’s Poet Laureate, might have written about Black poetry in Detroit when he founded Broadside Press.

“Why We Do It: Africans have limited access to the vast poetic work of both historical and contemporary African poets. There has never been an archive of these poets’ work that is both expansive and easily accessible. This means that many Africans are not inspired and influenced by their own writers and poets – negatively impacting their personal growth, identity, development and sense of place.”

Broadside Press, diected by Professor Rosemary Weatherston, hosts programs designed to put a light on great African American poetry, especially but not exclusively Detroit poets. Year by year, The Dudley Randall Poetry Competition features UDM student winners, new poets who inspire and influence the culture in which we live and the air we breathe. (n.b., after I wrote this post I saw Dr. Weatherston’s email announcing this Sundays “Broadside Press Poets’ Theatre (3:15 Sunday in Grounds) a precise example of what Broadside Press exists to do. Check out the full email at the end of this post: jstsj)

I found a tough, strong African poem in my first walk-around the Badilisha X-Change. Here at the end of week 2 of Black History Month, “Gardenia’s Night” is meant as a tribute to all the poetry UDM has called forth in the decades since Dudley Randall worked here and opened a tradition of African American expression.

But, of course, “Gardenia’s Night” also appeared here because it’s a good poem. Best to read it out loud with pauses.

Have a blest weekend,

john sj


Today’s Post: The Garden Full of Gardenia, Amira Ali

The garden full of gardenia
the smell perfectly lingers
as I imperfectly linger
on the blood-full skied
the night I should have talked
to the soul of his truth
before I laid my body down
maybe even lifted the many shades
before I bowed down to belief
I should have sent a prayer out
to the ancestral land
poured out libation
listen for a word back
a sign of consent
that he is King deserving
of a Queen
before offering my body
made to be a King’s Queen
between the sky and gardenia
we made such a pretty picture
I laid in-between
offer I did my body to him
Before brushing the stars
outta my hair
as the stars still peeked
at a face still hot
from the night’s heat
while his smell still lingered
before his shadow disappeared
I found out
He’s not [my] king.


Gardenias Night (Production of poem – Kenny Allen) by Amira Ali

[jwplayer mediaid=”1181″]
Amira is a creative artist, poet, writer and educator, born in Ethiopia, based in the U.S. http://badilishapoetry.com/?theme=love She is a regular contributor to Pambazuka News and chief writer, as well as editorial team member at AfricaSpeaks4Africa.org. She is currently at work on, in collaboration with a South African poet and Kenyan writer, producing Podcast stories (Afro’pick and coffee) that accentuates the everyday stories of the African disaporans, residing in America.

Broadside Press’ Poets’ Theater
Sunday, January 18, 2015
3:15 pm – 6:00 pm

Sunday, February 15th, the Dudley Randall Center for Print Culture and Broadside Press will host Broadside Press Poets’ Theater. There is no featured performer; the entire session will be devoted to open mic (new poets are welcome and encouraged to come read!) This event is free and open to the public.

Broadside Press Poets’ Theater takes place on UDM’s McNichols Campus the third Sunday of each month during the academic year. For more information, contact Rosemary Weatherston, Director of UDM’s Dudley Randall Center for Print Culture and UDM Press at weatherr@udmercy.edu. We hope you can join us.

Dr. Rosemary Weatherston
Associate Professor of English

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