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PRESS ROOM: Poetry Foundation Makes History Honoring 2022 Pegasus Awardees

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “We’re celebrating 110 years of Poetry magazine this year and approaching 20 years of the Poetry Foundation in 2023. We wanted to do something special to mark these milestones by honoring an outstanding cohort of writers whose work has brought comfort and inspiration to so many,” said Poetry Foundation president, Michelle T. Boone. “Poetry shows us the way forward, and there is no poetry without the imagination and talent of those behind the pen.”
The post PRESS ROOM: Poetry Foundation Makes History Honoring 2022 Pegasus Awardees first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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CHICAGO —The Poetry Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the 2022 Pegasus Awards, a family of literary prizes that include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Young People’s Poet Laureate, and the Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism. The winners will be honored at an awards ceremony in Chicago in October.

In recognition of Poetry magazine’s 110th anniversary, the Poetry Foundation has decided to award 10 additional Ruth Lilly Poetry Prizes this year, resulting in $1,132,500 in prizes distributed to the 2022 winners. It is the greatest prize amount that the Foundation has ever awarded to a cohort of living poets at one time.

“We’re celebrating 110 years of Poetry magazine this year and approaching 20 years of the Poetry Foundation in 2023. We wanted to do something special to mark these milestones by honoring an outstanding cohort of writers whose work has brought comfort and inspiration to so many,” said Poetry Foundation president, Michelle T. Boone. “Poetry shows us the way forward, and there is no poetry without the imagination and talent of those behind the pen.”

Honoring 11 Living Legends

The Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize is annually awarded to one living US poet with an award of $100,000 in recognition of their outstanding lifetime achievement; it is one of the most prestigious awards given to American poets, and one of the nation’s largest literary prizes.

In honor of the 110th anniversary of Poetry and in alignment with the goals announced in its new Strategic Plan, the Poetry Foundation is awarding 11 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prizes in 2022. The decision not only commemorates a historic milestone for the Foundation and magazine, but celebrates a diversity of backgrounds and styles from poets whose contributions to culture warrant the same recognition afforded to artists in other forms.

The 11 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize winners for 2022 are:

Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist, and essayist whose work explores the lives of the working class. Cisneros’s novel The House on Mango Street has been translated into over 25 languages, and is required reading in elementary, high school, and universities across the nation. Her awards include a MacArthur Fellowship, a National Medal of Arts, and a PEN/Nabokov Award for International Literature, among others. Cisneros’s new collection of poetry, Woman Without Shame, is published by Knopf and Vintage Español in a Spanish language translation.

CAConrad has worked with the ancient technologies of poetry and ritual since 1975; their honors include a Lambda Literary Award. As a young poet, they lived in Philadelphia, where they lost many loved ones during the early years of the AIDS crisis, as documented in the essay “SIN BUG: AIDS, Poetry, and Queer Resilience in Philadelphia.” Conrad is the author of many books of poetry, including AMANDA PARADISE: Resurrect Extinct Vibration and While Standing in Line for Death.

Rita Dove is a writer of poetry, fiction, drama, and essays who served as the United States Poet Laureate from 1993–1995. Dove’s honors include an NAACP Image Award, a National Medal of Arts, and a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, among others. Her latest volume of poems, Playlist for the Apocalypse, was named a “Top Book of 2021” by The New York Times. Dove teaches at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she is the Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing.

Nikki Giovanni is a poet and the author of several works of nonfiction and children’s literature, and multiple recordings, including the Emmy-award nominated The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection. Giovanni’s honors include a Langston Hughes Award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters, seven NAACP Image Awards, and a Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award. Her recent publications include Make Me Rain: Poems and Prose and Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid.

Juan Felipe Herrera is a poet and son of farmworkers; he has served as both the Poet Laureate of the United States and California. Herrera’s awards include a National Book Critics Circle Award, a Los Angeles Times Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Latino Hall of Fame Award, among others. He is the author of more than 30 books, including the recent poetry collection Every Day We Get More Illegal and the translation Akrílica. The Juan Felipe Herrera Elementary School is scheduled to open in Fresno in Fall 2022.

Angela Jackson is a Chicago poet, playwright, and novelist currently serving as the Illinois Poet Laureate. Jackson’s honors include a Pushcart Prize and a Shelley Memorial Award from Poetry Society of America. Her poetry collection, All These Roads Be Luminous, was nominated for the National Book Award, and her debut novel, Where I Must Go, won an American Book Award. In addition, Jackson has written four plays: Comfort Stew, Witness!Shango Diaspora: An African-American Myth of Womanhood and Love.

Haki Madhubuti is a poet, author, publisher, and educator. Madhubuti is widely regarded as one of the architects of the Black Arts Movement, and is the founder and publisher of Chicago’s Third World Press. Madhubuti has published more than 36 books, including his recent collection, Taught By Women: Poems As Resistance Language, New and Selected. His honors include an American Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Prize, and a Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award, among others.

Sharon Olds is the author of 12 books of poetry, including Arias, short-listed for the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize, and Stag’s Leap, winner of a Pulitzer Prize and a T. S. Eliot Prize. Olds’s other honors include the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award. She teaches in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University, and helped to found the NYU workshop program for residents of Coler-Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island.

Sonia Sanchez is a poet, playwright, professor, activist, and one of the foremost leaders of the Black Studies movement. Sanchez is the author of over 20 books, including Morning Haiku, Shake Loose My Skin, and her Collected Poems, published in 2021. Her honors include an American Book Award, an Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award, a Langston Hughes Poetry Award, and a Robert Frost Medal, among others; in 2011, she was named the first Poet Laureate of Philadelphia.

Patti Smith was born in Chicago, raised in South Jersey, and moved to New York City in 1967. Smith’s books of nonfiction and poetry include Year of the Monkey, Devotion, and M Train; her new collection, A Book of Days, is forthcoming. Her honors include the 2010 National Book Award for her bestselling memoir Just Kids, a PEN/Audible Literary Service Award, and being named a Doctor of Humane Letters from Columbia University.

Arthur Sze is a poet, translator, and editor; he is the author of 11 of poetry, including The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems and Sight Lines, which won a National Book Award for Poetry. Sze’s honors include a Shelley Memorial Award, a Jackson Poetry Prize, and a Lannan Literary Award, among others. He was a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2012–2017, and was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017. He is a professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Recent Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize recipients include Marilyn Chin, Martín Espada, Joy Harjo, Marilyn Nelson, and Patricia Smith.

Elizabeth Acevedo Named New Young People’s Poet Laureate
Elizabeth Acevedo, the bestselling author of The Poet X, will serve as the 2022–2024 Young People’s Poet Laureate. The laureateship and $25,000 prize are awarded to a living writer in recognition of a career devoted to writing exceptional poetry for young readers. The aim of the Laureate is to promote poetry to children and their families, teachers, and librarians throughout their two-year tenure.

Acevedo’s second book, With the Fire on High, was named a “best book of the year” by the New York Public Library, NPR, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal. Other honors include a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and a National Poetry Slam championship. She will advise the Poetry Foundation on matters relating to young people’s literature.

Recent Young People’s Poet Laureates include Naomi Shihab Nye (whose tenure was extended due to interruptions during the Covid-19 pandemic), Margarita Engle, and Jacqueline Woodson.

Kevin Quashie Wins Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism
The Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism annually honors one book-length work of criticism published in the prior calendar year, and includes a prize of $7,500. Kevin Quashie is the 2022 recipient for his book Black Aliveness, or A Poetics of Being, which draws on Black feminist literary texts, including work by poets Lucille Clifton, Audre Lorde, and June Jordan.

Quashie teaches Black cultural and literary studies and is a professor in the department of English at Brown University. Among his honors are a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as well as citations for teaching excellence from Brown University and Smith College.

The 2022 Criticism finalists were Anahid Nersessian for Keats’s Odes: A Lover’s Discourse (The University of Chicago Press) and Rachel Zolf for No One’s Witness: A Monstrous Poetics (Duke University Press).

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation recognizes the power of words to transform lives. We work to amplify poetry and celebrate poets by fostering spaces for all to create, experience, and share poetry. Follow the Poetry Foundation on
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and Poetry at @PoetryMagazine.

The post PRESS ROOM: Poetry Foundation Makes History Honoring 2022 Pegasus Awardees first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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FILM: Top 10 Must-See Black documentaries

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Below you will find a list of documentaries, based on the roots of African American culture, compiled by Word in Black partner, The Houston Defender. From “I Am Not Your Negro” to “High on the Hog,” each film offers up the origin stories of our most important activists, artists, athletes and traditions.
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By The Houston Defender | Word in Black

The AFRO’s October Special Edition is all about the roots of our culture, our family lineage and the return to old ways and traditions. Below you will find a list of documentaries, based on the roots of African American culture, compiled by our Word in Black partner, The Houston Defender. From I Am Not Your Negro to High on the Hog, each film offers up the origin stories of our most important activists, artists, athletes and traditions.

#10: Attica (2021) 

In September 1971, Attica Prison became the location of one of the largest prison riots in US history, taking place just weeks after revolutionary activist George Jackson was murdered by prison guards at Rikers Island, an act that initiated the birth of Black August and the prison reform movement. The constant abject cruelty and inhumane treatment doled out to the incarcerated (who were overwhelmingly Black and Latinx) by Attica guards (all White) created the context. The riot itself, and its aftermath, are something all human beings should be required to reckon with.

#9: Quincy (2018) 

If you’re Black, it literally doesn’t matter when you were born, what generation you’re a part of, or where you’re from. You’ve been impacted by the genius of Quincy Jones. We’ve all been influenced by the genius of Quincy Jones. The music he made, the albums he produced, the artists he developed, the movies he scored, and about a gazillion other things Jones did, means, as I’ve already said, if you’re Black, Quincy has had a hand in your life. Don’t believe me. What Black person do you know who isn’t a Michael Jackson fan, who hasn’t seen The Wiz, or who doesn’t have a family member who worships jazz music? Quincy Jones had his hand in all that and so much more. Directed by one of his daughters, actress Rashida Jones, this doc is most definitely a must see.

#8: Four Little Girls (1997) 

On Sept. 15, 1963, just 18 short days after the much-celebrated March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed by four members of a Ku Klux Klan-affiliated racist group. Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, four African American girls between the ages of 11 and 14 who had been attending the church’s Sunday school, were killed in the blast, an act of White domestic terrorism that served as a horrific and sober reminder that Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was not enough to end the hold the myth of White supremacy had on so many. Director Spike Lee tells this powerfully compelling and important story as only he can.

#7: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke (2019) 

For generations that came after the Baby Boomers, it’s hard for us to fully fathom how big a star Sam Cooke was. Think of the biggest singer of any generation. That was Sam Cooke in his heyday. And not only was he hyper-talented, but not only did he call some of the biggest names in Black history his personal friends (Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X just to name a few), Cooke was a man of the people. And he was heavily invested in the Civil Rights Movement and an advocate for Black self-determination and Black ownership. Cooke even pulled a “Prince” long before Prince—gaining ownership of his own music, something that was as rare then as it is today. This documentary chronicles Cooke’s life, rise to fame, and eventual end, though his influence never died.

#6: Thunder Soul (2010) 

Here’s a hometown entry. Thunder Soul spotlights the extraordinary alumni from Houston’s storied Kashmere High School Stage Band which the iconic Conrad Johnson led. These alums return home after 35 years to play a tribute concert for the 92-year-old ‘Prof’, their beloved band leader who transformed the schools struggling jazz band into a world-class funk powerhouse in the early 1970s. This one will have you out of your seat and dancing in the streets. Check it out.

#5: Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America (2021)  

In this documentary, criminal defense/civil rights lawyer Jeffery Robinson “draws a stark timeline of anti-Black racism in the United States, from slavery to the modern myth of a post-racial America.” It’s that simple, and yet that complex. And it goes without saying; it’s a must see.

#4: Jeen-Yuhs (2022) 

No matter where you score on the Love Ye / Hate Ye scale, this 2022 documentary about his rise to superstardom is beyond compelling. I mean, who thinks to chronicle their every move from the moment they start pursuing their dream until they either give up on it or see it to fruition and beyond? Who does that? No one but this negro Kanye. He may be the only human being with an ego big enough to conceive of such a project. And believe me, the scope and scale of this documentary match that galaxy-sized self-obsession brahman has that make him both insanely talented and just plain insane at the same time.

#3: I Am Not Your Negro (2016) 

This documentary by Raoul Peck, director of Exterminate All the Brutes (2021) which made the first list of must-see documentaries, introduced the brilliance and unabashed Black of James Baldwin to a whole new generation. Described as a work that imagines the completion of Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, Remember This House (about Baldwin’s personal reflections on and recollections of three of his personal friends who were killed during the Civil Rights and Black Power movements—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), I Am Not Your Negro is about so much more.

#2: The Last Dance (2020) 

You don’t have to be a basketball fan to get caught up in the chronicling of the last run at an NBA championship by the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls who had been told before the season began that the team would be broken up. The doc not only takes you on that 1996 Bulls’ championship ride, but it also digs deep into the past of players, coaches, and family members, spotlighting triumphs and tragedies that are part of the human story, not just the story of professional athletes.

#1: High on the Hog 

How African American Cuisine Transformed America (2021)

If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for anything that celebrates our history, especially those things that connect us to our African roots and our Pan-African family. This documentary does all that and more. Because the main character is food. Our food. The stuff we grew up on. The meals many of us are eating right now, and never stopped eating since our youth. This beautifully filmed, beautifully narrated piece of art is full of both the familiar and the foreign; or rather, things we’ve come to believe are foreign to us, but are really part of our story and our heritage. And the okra on top? High on the Hog has a powerful H-Town connection. A few, in fact.

This list of documentaries based on the roots of African American culture was compiled by Word In Black.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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Lawsuit Alleges U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans for Decades

NNPA NEWSWIRE — According to internal VA data obtained by the Washington Post, Black applicants seeking disability benefits were denied 30 percent of the time from 2002 to 2020. White applicants were denied 24 percent of the time.
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Black Information Network | Atlanta Daily World

A new lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) alleges that the U.S. government discriminated against Black veterans for decades.

On Monday (November 28), the suit was filed by Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic (VLSC) on behalf of Vietnam War veteran Conley Monk Jr, whose applications for education, housing, and disability benefits have been denied since he returned home from the war, per The Hill.

According to the suit, discrimination by the VA has left Black veterans without benefits more frequently than their white counterparts.

Yale’s VLSC said the lawsuit could “provide a legal pathway for Black veterans to seek reparations from the VA.”

“This lawsuit seeks to hold the VA accountable for years of discriminatory conduct,” Adam Henderson, a law student working with the VLSC on the case, said in a statement, per the Hill.

“VA leaders knew, or should have known, that they were administering benefits in a discriminatory manner, yet they failed to address this unlawful bias,” Henderson added. “Mr. Monk — and thousands of Black veterans like him — deserve redress for the harms caused by these negligently administered programs.”

According to internal VA data obtained by the Washington Post, Black applicants seeking disability benefits were denied 30 percent of the time from 2002 to 2020. White applicants were denied 24 percent of the time.

VA press secretary Terrence Hayes said the agency is working to combat “institutional racism.”

“Throughout history, there have been unacceptable disparities in both VA benefits decisions and military discharge status due to racism, which have wrongly left Black veterans without access to VA care and benefits,” Hayes said. “We are actively working to right these wrongs.”

The post U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans For Decades: Lawsuit appeared first on Atlanta Daily World.

The post Lawsuit Alleges U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans for Decades first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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BOOKS: Jerald LeVon Hoover Blends a Love of Sport & Friendship into New Children’s Book

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Through colorful pictures with vibrant imagery, young readers will easily get drawn into the exciting adventures of Bennett Mayco Wilson’s fictional yet exciting world and learn valuable childhood lessons together, when Bennet gets a basketball as a present from his father on his fourth birthday.
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‘A Basketball Hero is Born’ is a part of The Hero Book Series by Jerald LeVon Hoover, which aims to inspire youth to make a positive change in their communities and the world in general

Widely celebrated African American author, Jerald LeVon Hoover, is once again inspiring young people to make a positive change in their communities with the launch of a new children’s book. Titled A Basketball Hero is Born, the new children’s reading book contains colorful pictures that warm the heart and keep young readers glued to its pages.

The plot follows the exciting adventures of Bennett Mayco Wilson who gets a basketball as a present from his father on his fourth birthday. Affectionately naming the new basketball “Lucky,” the story unfolds as young Bennett tries to take his new best friend everywhere, including the dinner table, to school, and to bed when it is time for sleep.

Jerald L. Hoover

Jerald L. Hoover

Through colorful pictures with vibrant imagery, young readers will easily get drawn into Bennett’s fictional yet exciting world and learn valuable childhood lessons together. Currently available for purchase on Amazon, A Basketball Hero is Born is a part of The Hero Book Series by Jerald LeVon Hoover, which emphasizes instilling a love of sports and friendship in young readers.

About The Author

Jerald L. Hoover is a multi-talented individual with countless accomplishments in the creative, literary, and entertainment worlds. After winning an award for “The Best New Male Writer of the Year” for his fictional novel, My Friend, My Hero Jerald went on to be listed from 1994 – 1996 as a best-selling author among young Black writers in various African American publications. In 1995, he was awarded the Writers Corp Award by then-President Bill Clinton. In 1998, Jerald was inducted into the Mount Vernon Boy’s and Girl’s Club Hall of Fame. Since then, Jerald has won several other awards and is also an in-demand motivational speaker who overcame a childhood speech impediment.

The post BOOKS: Jerald LeVon Hoover Blends a Love of Sport & Friendship into New Children’s Book first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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