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October 16, 2007


NEW YORK, October 16, 2007 -- Noted scholar and poet Joanne M. Braxton will be the keynote speaker at The City College of New York (CCNY) Langston Hughes Festival’s third symposium Friday, October 26 in CCNY’s Great Hall. 

Entitled “Lift Every Voice,” the one-day symposium explores black lyricism in the African-American poetic tradition of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Langston Hughes, said Festival Director Dr. Gordon Thompson, CCNY Assistant Professor of English.  Papers will be presented on the works of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, Bob Kaufman, Jayne Cortez, Michael Harper, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Yusef Komunyakaa, Ntozake Shange and other African-American poets.

The event runs from 8:15 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in CCNY’s Great Hall, Shepard Hall, 138th St. & Convent Ave., Manhattan.  Admission is $12; $6 for students and seniors.

Dr. Braxton, the Frances L. & Edwin L. Cummings Professor of English and Humanities at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., will discuss “‘We Sound:’ Lyricism and the Black Poet’s Quest for Meaning.”  Other presenters include:

  • Dr. Joanne Gabbin, Professor of English and Executive Director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.
  • Dr. Sascha Feinstein, Professor of English at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa.
  • Dr. Keith Leonard, Associate Professor of Literature at American University in Washington.

            Dr. Eleanor Q. Tignor, Professor Emeritus of English at LaGuardia Community College, Dr. Carlyle Van Thompson, Professor of African American and American Literature at Medgar Evers College, and Michael Downie, Assistant Professor of English at Westchester Community College, will moderate the discussions.  Dr. Gregory H. Williams, President of The City College and Dr. Fred Reynolds, Dean of the Division of Humanities and the Arts at CCNY, will offer remarks. 

In addition, several CCNY students will recite poetry during a spoken word event. The symposium will conclude with a performance of Langston Hughes’s Tambourines to Glory by the Harlem Repertory Theatre, under the direction of Keith Grant, Deputy Chair of CCNY’s Theatre Department.

Registration is available online at www.ccny.cuny.edu/lhf as well as onsite until 8:30 a.m. the morning of the event in the Great Hall.  For more information on the Festival, call Professor Gordon Thompson at (212) 650-6353/6365 or visit www.ccny.cuny.edu/lhf/symposium/symposium.html.

About Joanne Braxton

An early performance poet, Joanne Braxton is a prodigious playwright, scholar and writer.  She is well known for her work in the mid-1970s with avant-garde jazz musician Marion Brown.  Books she has authored or edited include Sometimes I Think of Maryland (Sunbury 1977), The Collected Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar (University of Virginia Press 1993), Wild Women in the Whirlwind: the Contemporary Renaissance in Afra-American Writing (Rutgers University Press 1989) and The Maya Angelou ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ Reader Oxford University Press, 1999.  In addition to winning a Fulbright Fellowship, Dr. Braxton was a Mellon Scholar at the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women and a Fellow of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Studies at Harvard University.  She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and holds a Ph.D. from Yale University.

About CCNY’s Langston Hughes Festival

Established in 1977, the Langston Hughes Festival at The City College of New York celebrates the life and spirit of Langston Hughes, 1902-1967, the poet laureate of Harlem.  Each year, it presents The Langston Hughes Medal to highly distinguished writers and poets from the African-American Diaspora for their impressive works that celebrate the memory and tradition of Langston Hughes.  Past recipients include: James Baldwin (1978), Toni Morrison (1981), Maya Angelou (1991) and Octavia Butler (2005).  The Festival also holds salons, scholarly conferences and symposia and sponsors a Choral Reading Festival for students grade K through 12 and The Young Scholar’s High School Essay Contest.

About The City College of New York

For 160 years, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines.  Over 14,500 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Architecture, the School of Education, the Grove School of Engineering and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education.