ALBANY, NY (07/17/2017) (readMedia)-- Two acclaimed younger African-American poets, Harmony Holiday and Douglas Kearney, are coming to the Hudson Area Library on Tuesday, August 1 at 7 p.m. for an evening of breathtaking and incisive multi-media performance. "Living Poetry at the Library" is an unusual collaboration between four local arts-and-education organizations: the New York State Writers Institute, Fence, the Hudson Area Library, and the Poetry Home School. Three of these are locally based but national in scope, and all have the intention of bringing diverse and intellectually stimulating literary production to an upstate audience.
Harmony Holiday is the author of three groundbreaking books of poetry that push at the elasticity of language and memory, poems and prose. Publishers Weekly described her debut volume Negro League Baseball (2011) as "chaotic and mesmerizing, with sex, violence, music, history and semantics moving at breakneck speed."
Holiday is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation in 2013. She earned a BA in rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley and an MFA at Columbia University. She is a choreographer who has taught dance at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. She lives in Los Angeles and is the founder of Mythscience, an arts collective devoted to cross-disciplinary work and to creating an Afrosonics archive of jazz and everyday diaspora poetics. Fence Books most recently published Holiday's Hollywood Forever in 2017, with this sub-head: "Will Hollywood Let Negroes Make Love?"
Douglas Kearney is a poet, performer and librettist whose work defies labels and expands boundaries by bridging themes such as politics, African-American culture, and hip-hop music while employing nontraditional layouts he calls "performative typography." The Los Angeles Times said Kearney is "using a multicultural voice inflected with the concerns of what it means to be a young black man at this time and at this place."
Kearney's book Mess and Mess and (2015) was a Small Press Distribution Handpicked Selection that Publishers Weekly called "an extraordinary book." He was the guest editor for 2015's Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan). He has received a Whiting Writer's Award, residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, The Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. Kearney received his BA from Howard University and his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. He lives with his family in California's Santa Clarita Valley and teaches at CalArts.
The New York State Writers Institute and its affiliate, the University at Albany-based literary press Fence-publisher of Holiday and Kearney-are cosponsoring the poetry event along with the Hudson Area Library and Poetry Home School, an annual poetry conference which takes Hudson, NY as its home.
Rebecca Wolff, a full-time resident of Hudson, is founder of Fence, a biannual literary journal and publisher. Since 1998, Fence's mission is to redefine the terms of accessibility by publishing challenging writing distinguished by idiosyncrasy and intelligence rather than by allegiance with camps, schools, or cliques. It encourages writing that does not answer to the mainstream or recognizable modes of experimentation.
"We are excited to join forces with Fence, with whom we have a long affiliation, and the Hudson Area Library and the Home School, in order to showcase these two brilliant and provocative poets," said Paul Grondahl, director of the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany. "This team effort represents the type of collaboration and community outreach we hope to expand in the future. Community engagement and helping to bring diverse and dynamic literary voices beyond the UAlbany campus is important to our mission."
The August 1 event will begin at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of the Hudson Area Library, located in the newly renovated Galvan Armory, 51 N. 5th Street, at the corner of 5th and State streets in Hudson.
The Hudson Area Library enriches the quality of life by providing free and equal access to programs, services and resources, and by creating opportunities for all members of our community to connect, create, learn and grow.
The event is free and open to the public and is wheelchair accessible. A reception with refreshments will follow.
For more information, call Brenda Shufelt, Program Director, at the Hudson Area Library (518) 828-1792 x101 or go to the library's website at http://hudsonarealibrary.org/