This event was held in Newark, New Jersey* [yes, that much maligned city] for the second time at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center[which has excellent acoustics] and other nearby sites including the Newark Museum [which has a world class collection of Tibetan art]. I attended a group poetry reading and an interview of the poet Amiri Baraka by Dr. Clement Price about how Baraka’s life was affected by growing up in and coming back to live in Newark after the murder of Malcolm X and living through the Newark 1967 rebellion (also known as the Newark riots). Listening to this discussion was worthwhile because it forced me to think about the difficult issue of race and because Baraka vividly portrayed the way the rebellion transformed Newark but the highlight of my day was Taylor Mali’s reading. His poetry was humorous and heartfelt; here’s an example.

* This is a placeholder till I have a chance to write a proper post about Newark. A former teacher who had moved from Madison, Wisconsin to Tallahassee, Florida differentiated these cities by saying that one had a pulse and the other didn’t {make up your mind which was which). Newark’s curse and blessing is that it definitely has a pulse.

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