6:00 - 7:30
Tongo Eisen-Martin, San Francisco’s Poet Laureate, brings together poets from Mississippi for an evening of powerful poetry and resistance. Featuring Monica “Surreal the Messenger” Atkins, Charlie Braxton, C. Leigh McInnis, Halima J. Olufemi and Carlton Turner.
C. Liegh McInnis is a poet, short story writer, instructor of English at Jackson State University, the former publisher and editor of Black Magnolias Literary Journal and the author of eight books, including four collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction, Scripts: Sketches and Tales of Urban Mississippi, one work of literary criticism, The Lyrics of Prince: A Literary Look at a Creative, Musical Poet, Philosopher, and Storyteller and one co-authored work, Brother Hollis: The Sankofa of a Movement Man, which discusses the life of a legendary Mississippi Civil Rights icon. Leigh McInnis is a former First Runner-Up of the Amiri Baraka/Sonia Sanchez Poetry Award sponsored by North Carolina State A&T. In January of 2009, Liegh McInnis, along with eight other poets, was invited by the NAACP to read poetry in Washington, DC, for their Inaugural Poetry Reading celebrating the election of President Barack Obama.
Carlton Turner is an artist, agriculturalist, arts advocate, policy shaper, lecturer, consultant and facilitator. Turner is the founder of the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production (Sipp Culture). Sipp Culture uses arts and agriculture to support rural community, cultural and economic development in his hometown of Utica, Mississippi where he lives with his wife Brandi and three children.
Charlie Braxton is the author of three volumes of verse, Ascension from the Ashes (Blackwood Press 1991), Cinder’s Rekindled (Jawara Press 2013) and Embers Among the Ashes: Poems in a Haiku Manner (Jawara 2018). His poetry has been published in various anthologies including, Trouble the Water edited by Jerry Ward, In the Tradition edited by Ras Baraka and Kevin Powell, Step Into a World edited by Kevin Powell, Roll Call edited by Tony Medina, Soulfires edited by Rohan Preston and Daniel Widerman, Fertile Ground edited by Kysha N. Brown and Kalamu ya Salaam and Bum Rush the Page: The Def Jam Poetry Anthology edited by Tony Medina and Louis Reyes. In addition, his poems have appeared in numerous literary publications such as African American Review, Cutbanks, Drumvoices Review, Black Magnolias, The Minnesota Review, The San Fernando Poetry Journal, The Black Nation, Massiffe and others.
Halima J. Olufemi was born and raised in Jackson, MS. Olufemi is a member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, JXN People's Assembly and volunteers with the People's Advocacy Institute. Their poetry centers around social justice and Black Feminist Thought.
Monica “Surreal the Messenger” Atkins is a cultural worker and organizer who is passionate about organizing with communities organizing for self-determination and self-governance. Atkins experience organizing is built upon her leadership within the labor movement, building worker power with unions including The United Auto Workers, American Federation of Teachers and Communication Workers of America through direct action, cultural events and more. It is through these experiences that she began to organize solidarity economies as a member of Cooperation Jackson to build worker power & ownership while organizing with the Climate Justice Alliance to expand the Just Transition Framework in the Southeast. Atkins is currently in service of the Climate Justice Alliance membership as the Director of Organizing.
Tongo Eisen-Martin is San Francisco’s Poet Laureate. He is the author of Heaven Is All Goodbyes, which was shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize, received the California Book Award for Poetry, an American Book Award and a PEN Oakland Book Award. He is also the author of someone's dead already and the forthcoming Blood on the Fog.