Furious Flower

McKinley Melton, Public Lecture

Thu, 7 Nov 2019 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Festival Conference and Student Center- Highlands Room
This event is free and open to the public!

"To Tether Words to Righteousness":

Black Poetry and a 21st Century Politics of Resistance

McKinley E. Melton is scholar-in-residence at the Furious Flower Poetry Center for the 2019-20 academic year, under the auspices of the Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars, awarded by the American Council of Learned Societies.  While at Furious Flower, Dr. Melton is working on a book project, “Claiming All the World as Our Stage: Contemporary Black Poetry, Performance, and Resistance.”  This study explores spoken word poetics within traditions of Black diasporan writing, orality, and performance, and situates contemporary poets at the center of movements for social, cultural, and political advancement for African-descended peoples across the modern Black diaspora.

"To Tether Words to Righteousness": Black Poetry and a 21st Century Politics of Resistance will focus on the work of contemporary black poets who, through performances as well as print and online publications, have established themselves as critical voices in ongoing conversations about the politics of art.  Recognizing that Black existence is often a resistive act, these poets use their work to contend with the social, cultural, and political realities of being Black in contemporary America while challenging and inviting their audiences to do the same. This lecture will consider how artists such as Dominique Christina, Danez Smith, and Mahogany Browne not only center questions of social justice in their poetry, but also explore love and joy as acts of resistance that illuminate the contours and contexts of Blackness in the 21st Century.

MMelton_headshot2.jpgBiography: Dr. Melton, Associate Professor of English at Gettysburg College, earned his B.A. in English and African & African American Studies from Duke University and his PhD from the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is also the recipient of a 2015 Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and was a 2015-16 Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University.  In addition to several forthcoming works on Black poetry and poetics, Dr. Melton’s active scholarly agenda includes published essays on the work and writing of James Baldwin, Richard Wright, James Weldon Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, Danez Smith, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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