For the Blackbird Poetry Festival, we partner with Howard Community College to bring poetry to the students and the residents of Howard County. “Blackbird” refers to Wallace Steven’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” This program began in 2009 and has brought many notable and exciting poets, including Taylor Mali & Chris August, Billy Collins, and Terence Hayes & Tara Betts. Each year, the festival features poetry workshops, a free event open to the public called Sunbird, and an evening ticketed event called Nightbird.
The Fierce Revolution of Marilyn Chin
HoCoPoLitSo’s Tenth Annual Blackbird Poetry Festival
Thursday, April 26, 2017
Howard Community College
10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, MD 21044
Award-winning poet and author Marilyn Chin headlines the tenth annual Blackbird Poetry Festival for HoCoPoLitSo. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Oregon, activist poet Chin unflinchingly explores the intersection of the Asian and American worlds.
The Blackbird Poetry Festival is a day devoted to verse, with student workshops, book sales, readings, and patrols by the Poetry Police.
2:30 p.m. — The Sunbird Reading – Smith Theatre – featuring Ms. Chin, as well as Washington, D.C., poet and educator Joseph Ross, local authors, and Howard Community College faculty and students.
7:30 p.m. — The Nightbird Reading – Smith Theatre. Ms. Chin will read from and discuss her poetry, including her most recent work, Hard Love Province, as well as from earlier works. Tickets are $20 each (seniors $15 and students $10). Click here for tickets to the Nightbird Reading.
Hard Love Province won the 2015 Anisfield-Wolf National Prize for Literature that confronts racism and examines diversity. Former winners of this prize include Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, Toni Morrison and Maxine Hong Kingston, Gwendolyn Brooks and Oprah Winfrey.
Marilyn Chin co-directs the MFA program at San Diego State University and has won numerous awards for her poetry, including from the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Stegner Fellowship, the PEN/Josephine Miles Award, four Pushcart Prizes, the Paterson Prize, and many others.
Joseph Ross’s newest collection of poems, Ache, was published in 2017. Sarah Browning, director of Split This Rock, noted “The poems in Ache do just that, they ache – from the wounds inflicted by racism, from history’s ravages. The wail, the poems insist, ‘is the language/inside every tongue.’ Joseph Ross’s moral vision is unsparing, truth-telling, fierce.”