Thurgood Marshall Library Celebrates National Library Week
By Kristina Rowley
Each April, the American Library Association and libraries all over the nation celebrate National Library Week. The purpose of National Library Week is to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians, and to promote library use and support.
National Library week was created at a time when people were buying radios and televisions instead of books. Library employees and supporters hoped the week would motivate people to read and support libraries. National Library Week also falls under the same month as National Poetry Month. National Poetry Month is an annual celebration first introduced in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets.
In honor of National Poetry Month and National Library Week, the Figures of Speech English Club and the Thurgood Marshall Library sponsored a poetry reading on Wednesday April 15 at 6 p.m. in the Library Special Collections Room. Bro. Yao, a professor of the Department of English and Modern Languages, hosted the reading and welcomed everyone stating how he used to participate in the annual readings when he was a student.
Professor Wilson from the Department of English and Modern Languages opened the reading by sharing two pieces. The first poem entitled Terror, described the struggles women are facing during the current conflict in the Congo and the last poem was entitled Lyrics for Freedom. Next students from Bro Yao's creative writing classes shared poetry they had been working on during the semester.
The first featured poet Venus Thrash is an African American female poet from D.C and a professor at the University of the District of Columbia. Venus Thrash proudly represents the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or LGBTQ community. Most of Thrash's poetry reveals her prospective of being a dominant lesbian in today's society. Bro Yao pointed out that there would be no African American literature without those African American literary figures such as Langston Hughes, Audre Lorde, Countee Cullen, Alice Walker, and James Baldwin who were a part of the LGBTQ community.
A number of Venus Thrash's poems also showed a feminist perspective. Her poem Womanology which is also the title of her poetry manuscript talked about the beauty and strength of women. Thrash's poems Just Like a Woman, Approval, and Uncivil expressed negative and positive experiences of being homosexual.
The next featured poet Katy Richey is a biracial female poet from the Washington Metropolitan Area; she is also a teacher for sixth to eight graders. Richey's poetry is inspired by her Irish and African American ancestry. Richey spent some time in Ireland perfecting and performing poetry. Richey explained that she likes to write a lot about the body because we always take it with us and it constantly changes.
The first poem Richey read entitles, Irish Grandfather Rules Out the Bloodline, explained in one or two lines about how her grandfather reacted when he first saw her because she was biracial. Another poem Richey read, A Guide for Black and White Crossing, explained issues with being biracial through the metaphor of being a zebra crossing the watering hole knowing that, as the last line states, the water is better off for each striped swirl the Zebra dips in.
People who attended the reading enjoyed the poetry of the featured poets as well as the student poets, and also appreciated the unique perspectives that the two featured poets shared with the audience.