A Night filled with Sweet Poetry
By Mahoganie Reckley
There was standing room only as poetry took center stage at Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communications gallery on Oct. 7, where FAMU’s Younger Poets Series 2015 was held. Members of the community filled in every possible space to get the chance to hear some of the awarding poetry from Danez Smith and Tallahassee’s own Yolanda J. Franklin.
FAMU’s department of English and Modern Languages hosted this event as a part of a series of events to introduce young writers to the art of poetry. This poetry reading, as well as the writers’ workshop that was held the next day was to show that there is more to poetry than William Shakespeare and Edgar Allen Poe. This was all about promoting poetry on campus and getting young writers involved with poetry.
Kristine Snodgrass, an assistant professor at FAMU, planed this event for the second year in a row in hopes to show how important poetry is to culture. She wanted people to walk away with an experience, more than what people could get by video or just reading a book.
“We are really trying to prompt poetry on campus. I’m a poet and I teach poetry and I teach writing and we are from the English department. We think poetry is really important. And it’s really important that our students are able to see poets speak and read their poems to them instead of just seeing a video or reading the book. It’s so much more important for them, to see the poets in person and to be able to talk to them and interact with them,” said Snodgrass.
One of the poets of the night, Yolanda J. Franklin captivated the audience with tales of injustice, romance and family. She recited each poem with a level elegance and grace that people couldn’t help but fall into a trance. Making audience drive head first in to whatever time and place the poem transported them to.
Franklin couldn’t help but be giddy with joy as she got a chance to accomplish one of her dreams by performing with Danez Smith, who she playfully calls her son.
“This was my dream reading. Meaning I wanted to hear him read and then they asked me to read with him. I was like wow, I won the lottery,” said Franklin.
Danez Smith the author of the book [insert] boy and two-time Individual World Poetry Slam finalist stepped up to the microphone and commanded the room. Taking the audience on a wild roller coaster ride through his poetry. The audience went from the highest of high to the lowest of low, twisting and turning as he pushed them through a kaleidoscope of emotions.
Smith, also went through a range of emotions with FAMU being the first time he has ever performed at a HBCU.
“For me this is the first time I’ve ever performed at an HBCU. So it felt good and different. To show up in a room full of faces who look just like me and they understand the story” said Smith.