Calliope Poetry Readings at the West Falmouth Library will feature poets Justen Ahren, Aimee Sands, and Afaa Michael Weaver at its next meeting on Sunday, January 13, from 3 to 5 PM. Open Mike sign-up is at 2:45 PM. A $5 donation is suggested to fund the poets' stipend.
Afaa Michael Weaver has been called "the African American successor to Walt Whitman and one of the finest poets of his time." His twelfth collection of poetry, "The Government of Nature," will be published in February.
Mr. Weaver grew up in working class East Baltimore, a gifted and dedicated student who entered college at the age of 16. Two years later, he dropped out and took a factory job, following the path of his father and uncles. It was during his 15 years as factory worker that he became a poet.
Mr. Weaver has been a Pew fellow, a Fulbright scholar in Taiwan, and an NEA fellow in poetry. He has been a playwright, a freelance journalist, and an editor and translator of contemporary Chinese poetry. He has won a Pushcart Prize, a PDI Award in playwriting from ETA Theatre in Chicago, and the May Sarton Award.
Mr. Weaver directs the Zora Neale Hurston Literary Center at Simmons College and lives in Somerville. He maintains a translation website called Poets Cafe at transpoet.com and a personal website at afaamweaver.com.
Aimée Sands is the author of "The Green-go Turn of Telling," published in 2012 by Salmon Poetry. Her poems have previously appeared in "FIELD," "Beloit Poetry Journal," "Poet Lore," "Measure," "Salamander," and other literary journals. She is the co-director of the Brookline Poetry Series and lives in Jamaica Plain.
Ms. Sands is also an independent documentary filmmaker. She recently received a grant from the Kellogg Foundation to expand her short film "What Makes Me White?" to an hour-long documentary. The film is used in diversity and anti-racism work in colleges, churches, and nonprofit organizations. She has won numerous awards for her previous documentaries, which have appeared on WGBH, NPR, or PBS.
"The Green-go Turn of Telling" is a poetic excavation of the lost, each poem recovering a piece of the self. Bruce Weigl, a renowned poet, has described the collection as "the elegant wedding of fresh intellect and lyric bravado. . . . Here is all of the heartbreak and gravity of being human stripped of everything but its essential, luminous core of knowing."
Justen Ahren is founder and director of The Martha's Vineyard Writers Residency, and also co-director of the Summer Festival of Poetry at Featherstone Center for the Arts. His poems have appeared in Fulcrum, Bordersenses, Borderlands, Texas Poetry Review and Comstock Review. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, tand eaches writing workshops in Labro, Italy. Currently, he is a West Tisbury Poet Laureate.
Mr. Ahren says he has always been a poet, even before he wrote his first poems down in high school. He describes himself as nostalgic and sentimental. "I write about what I've loved that is lost. There is no end to this."
A book-signing reception follows the poetry readings. Refreshments are provided.
The February poetry reading is on February 10, from 3 to 5 PM, and features poets James Arthur, Greg Hischak, and Margaret Young.
In addition to its monthly poetry readings, Calliope offers a series of Poetry Craft Workshops on Saturdays, January 26, February 23, and March 23, from 11 AM to 2 PM, at West Falmouth Library. Pre-registration is required.