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Presented By: Poetry and Poetics Workshop

When the Diaspora Gathers: The Emergence of a Black Global Poetics

Ama Bemma Adwetewa-Badu (Asst. Prof. of English, Washington University)

Ama Bemma Adwetewa-Badu (Assistant Professor of English, Washington University) will give a talk titled "When the Diaspora Gathers: The Emergence of a Black Global Poetics," from 4:30pm-6:00pm on Friday, April 12th. Location TBA. Light refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP for the lecture here:

In the fall of 1964, a gathering of poets convened in West Berlin for the first International Congress of Poets. Poets such as J.P. Clark, a Nigerian poet, W.H. Auden, an Anglo-American poet, and Langston Hughes, an African-American poet, among others, delivered a series of talks. In the audience, a diverse assembly of poets, notably younger Caribbean and African poets such as Derek Walcott and Wole Soyinka, listened intently.

This talk tracks the institutionally supported emergence of a Black global poetics, a category that denotes both the writing and circulation of poems as well as the theoretical frameworks poets actively created in discourse with one another. Through a close focus on this 1964 gathering as an example of this global poetics, I ask how Black transnationalism mediated the development of global poetics amid the 1960s' backdrop of decolonization, civil rights struggles, and Cold War politics. In doing so, I show how Black poets leveraged Cold War-era infrastructure to strategically bolster their work, how debate and disagreement enabled solidarities, and why studying networks of poets can not only yield insights into the development of African literature in the '60s but also enables a way of reading specifically for poetry in the field of world literature. Through this, the talk illustrates the centrality of poetry in any study of world literature and the historical significance of poetry in the development of African and Black Atlantic literary traditions.

This event is hosted by the Poetry & Poetics Workshop.

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