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When Poetry Comes to Life

Honoring three I AM NEW ORLEANS poets, along with the inciting work of Marcus B. Christian, to kick off National Poetry Month

By Dorothy Nguyen, graduate assistant

April has arrived, bringing with it one of the largest and influential literary celebrations in the world. First launched in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month is an occasion that connects countless readers and lovers of poetry. We are proud to feature four poets that have touched our hearts and created such remarkable work for the I Am New Orleans collection.

Major thanks to our splendid videographer Weenta Girmay, who produced these videos, and the Library of America and the Schomburg Center for awarding us the Lift Every Voice grant in 2020.

  1. Marcus B. Christian, a “self-taught printer, itinerant historian and poet,” was a renaissance man and a beloved lecturer in English and history at the University of New Orleans.
Marcus Christian’s “I Am New Orleans” is masterfully read by Marian Moore, Sunni Patterson, Kristina Kay Robinson, and Kalamu ya Salaam.

2. Kristina Kay Robinson is a writer, curator, and visual artist born and raised in New Orleans. Her work explores “the impact of globalization, militarism, and surveillance on society and their intersections with contemporary art and pop culture.”

An excellent reading of “Indian Red” by Kristina Kay Robinson herself.

3. Marian Moore lives in Harvey, LA, and works in the city of New Orleans. She converted a childhood love of science into a career in computing analysis. Her love of literature led her to writing poetry and science fiction, which has been published in periodicals ranging from Bridges to Asimov’s Science Fiction

Marian Moore mingles with the city during her reading of “Martha.”

4. Sunni Patterson is a New Orleans native and an internationally acclaimed poet and performer who “deliberately uses art, poetry, and praise (Ancestral remembrance) to encourage dialogue, connectivity, spiritual awareness, and healing.”

Sunni Patterson performs her poem “My City Ain’t For Sale.”

Christian photo courtesy of the UNO Earl K. Long Library.

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