Every February, Black History Month events encourage members of the New College community to learn new concepts, reflect on shared experiences and discuss noteworthy topics. This upcoming Tuesday’s Black Literature Read-in, featuring writer, planner and publisher Tyree C. Worthy provides students with the important but rare opportunity to directly engage with pieces of literature created by Black authors, poets and journalists.
Professor of English Robert Zamsky, who collaborated with Professor of Sociology Queen Zabriskie to bring this event to both his “In the Break: Innovation in African American Poetry” class and New College as a whole, believes the read-in is an invaluable piece within the Black History Month puzzle.
“The baseline value of an event like this is the visibility of African American writing and broader artistic and cultural practice,” Zamsky explained. “For me, as someone whose teaching and research focus on American poetry, African American literary practice is at the center of what I do. There is just so much great, exciting and important work out there. Any chance to engage with it is a real addition to the campus.”
This event, which encourages New College community members to bring some of their favorite works by Black authors to read and share with each other, will allow Professor Zamsky’s students to take part in the literature they have been working with over the course of the semester in a different, much more hands-on way. Through facilitating student-practitioner relations via events such as this read-in, students become involved in a broader community of readers and are able to take a more active role in the literary process.
“Preparing a poem to read it in public, even if it’s a short poem, changes a student’s relationship to that poem,” Zamsky said. “It will also give the students a chance to think about the poems they choose in the context of other work selected by others participating in the reading.”
After the read-in, students will get a chance to hear from Worthy on a more instructional level at his curator’s workshop, “Creating Space for Arts and Community.” Worthy will provide some crucial insight regarding his own professional journey from part-time editor and reporter to full-time author, poet, businessman and creator of his own social event planning collective, Atypical LLC.
“I’m sure [students] will learn a lot through their interactions with Tyree Worthy,” Zamsky said. “He’s very active as a poet, publisher and organizer, so there are many facets to his career for students to engage with.”
The Black Literature Read-in will occur Tuesday, Feb. 25 in the CEO Lounge from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will be followed a few hours later by Worthy’s workshop, which will take place in the Four Winds Café from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Both events are free and open to all students, faculty and staff.