2:00 - 4:00
Local poets from West Oakland and Mills College read work from the book Our Spirits Carry Our Voices: West Oakland to West Africa Poetry Exchange, an anthology of linked poetic conversations between them and poets from Accra, Ghana, and Abidjan,Côte d’Ivoire.
Like pen pals, the poets were assigned partners to exchange with for over a year. The goal of the exchange was to create healing and reconnection between Africans and African Americans who have long been separated due to the Maafa, the calamity of slavery, and many current socio-economic factors. The anthology is arranged into 12 sections and a story unfolds as to how complete strangers meet through the art of writing poems.
The resulting work uses the form of Renshi poetry, a Japanese form, which includes the use of the last line of your partner’s poem to start your own. During the exchange, real friendships began to blossom and in 2018, the year before President Akufo-Adoo declared the Year of the Return, exchange partners met in Ghana. This book is a reflection of both the process and the journey. Within the exchange one can feel the force of the Oral tradition in the spoken word poetry of our Ghanaian partners who sometimes wrote in their second or even third language.
Poets reading include:
Zakiyyah G.E. Capehart
Tyrice Deane Brown
Adeshima aka Marcus Lorenzo Penn
Noemi Rose Gonzalez-Barillas
Makeda, aka Sandra Hooper Mayfield
Please find more information here: West Oakland to West Africa