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Detroit Poet Laureate Naomi Long Madgett to read at Loutit District Library

October 5, 2017 @ 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM


Detroit Poet Laureate NAOMI LONG MADGETT will come to Grand Haven for a reading at Loutit District Library at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 on LDL’s Upper Level Lobby. She will be joined by Detroit poet Sonya Pouncy, and Grand Rapids pianist Robin Connell. And all of them will be welcomed and introduced by Grand Rapids’ Poet Laureate, Marcel “Fable, the Poet” Price.

The free event is sponsored by Loutit District Library (LDL) and The Bookman, Grand Haven’s independent bookseller. Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.

In addition to appearing at the Library, Madgett, Pouncy, and Connell also will be presenting to students at Grand Haven High School on Friday, October 6 as part of their visit to West Michigan.

Dr. Madgett’s books of poetry include Songs to A Phantom Nightingale (1941), One and the Many (1956), Star by Star (1965) Pink Ladies in the Afternoon (1972), Exits and Entrances (1978), Octavia and Other Poems (1988), Remembrances of Spring (1993), Phantom Nightingale: Juvenilia (1981), Octavia: Guthrie and Beyond (2002), Connected Islands: New and Selected Poems (2004). In addition she has edited any number of collections, perhaps the most notable Adam of Ife: Black Women in Praise of Black Men (2006). Her poems appear in numerous journals and more than 180 anthologies both here and abroad. Several have been set to music. She also has written her autobiography, Pilgrim Journey (2006). As founder and editor of Lotus Press (1972) she has published more than 90 collections, most of them first books for up-and-coming poets.

Dr. Madgett has served as Poet Laureate of the City of Detroit since 2001 and is the recipient of the 2012 Kresge Eminent Artist Award. Among her other honors are an American Book Award, induction into three halls of fame, four honorary degrees, and several lifetime achievement awards. She has recorded some of her poems for inclusion in the collections of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. When William Milliken was elected Governor–and at the request of Helen, his wife–Dr. Madgett wrote a poem for his 1975 inauguration and read it there. As Poet Laureate, she read her poem celebrating the tri-centennial of Detroit and watched it sealed in a time capsule Dec. 31, 2001, to be opened in a hundred years.

She was born was born in Norfolk, Virginia on July 5, 1923, the youngest of three children and only daughter of the Rev. Dr. Clarence Marcellus Long and Maude Hilton Long. Dr. Madgett earned a Master of Arts in English Education from Wayne State University and her Doctorate at Eastern Michigan University. She taught in Detroit Public Schools for 12 years prior to her appointment as Professor of English at Eastern Michigan University, from which she retired in 1984 as Professor of English Emeritus.

In 1993, the national Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award was established to recognize and publish an outstanding manuscript by an African American poet. This annual award continues under the sponsorship of Broadside Lotus Press.

SONYA MARIE POUNCY is a Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop Fellow and holds a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Central Michigan University.  Her work has appeared in CallalooTemenos, the Central ReviewAunt Chloe: A Journal of Artful Candor; and Drum Voices Revue; as well as the anthologies Poet in the HouseAbandon Automobile; and Eclipsing A Nappy New Millennium. She was a Broadside Press poet-in-residence for the Detroit Public Library and an InsideOut poet-in-residence for the Detroit Public School District. Currently, Sonya is working on a collection of poems about the life of Mrs. Henrietta Lacks, progenitor of the immortal HeLa cell line.

ROBIN CONNELL, originally from Detroit, is the West Michigan Jazz Society’s 2017 Musician of the Year. She follows in the tradition of singer‐pianists Shirley Horn, Diana Krall, and Blossom Dearie, leading her own jazz trio in original arrangements of time-honored jazz standards, such as those heard on her CD, A Beautiful Friendship. Honing her craft for over a decade in New York City, at places such as The Waldorf-Astoria and The Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center, she brings the sophistication of The Great American Songbook to life in her own charming and inimitable way.

In 2016, Robin co-produced a concert series, Jazz at The Harris with her trio backing a different artist each week. In addition to leading her own groups, Robin is in demand as first-call pianist.

FABLE THE POET is the author of  Adrift in a Sea of M&M’s. He is a bi-racial North American writer, teacher, community activist, performer, motivational speaker, and is the second place winner of The 2016 Missouri Review Audio Poetry Contest. A national touring artist, he is known for his audience interaction. He also is noted for his work with youth. He is an official partner of Mental Health America and has sat on panels across the country.

The evening’s performance will run through 8:30 and is intended to allow the poets/musicians to talk with members of the audience before the library’s 9 p.m. closing time.

For more information, visit the library’s website http://loutitlibrary.org or call 616-842-5560, ext. 212; or visit The Bookman’s website https://bookmanbookstore.indielite.org/ or call 616-846-3520.

Loutit District Library is located at 407 Columbus Avenue in Grand Haven, Michigan. LDL serves 345,187 residents of the City of Grand Haven, the City of Ferrysburg, Grand Haven Charter Township, Robinson Township and that part of Port Sheldon Township in the Grand Haven Area Public School District. LDL offers a collection of over 145,581 items and provides educational, informative, cultural, and recreational programs for all ages. LDL is a member of the Lakeland Library Cooperative.


October 5, 2017
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM