April’s National Poetry Month was a time to allow students to showcase their poetic talents while learning from award-winning and critically acclaimed published poets. On April 10, Skyline College was graced with two dynamic and acclaimed power houses in poetry – Jessica Care Moore and Tongo Eisen-Martin. With their transparent lyricism, they brought to light the need for social consciousness and made tangible the joys and sorrows of the people in United States.

Facilitated by Nathan Jones in collaboration with the division of Academic Support & Learning Technologies (ASLT) and Student Equity and Support Programs, “Poetry=Power” invited 50 plus students to experience the poetry readings of Eisen-Martin and Moore.

Eisen-Martin performed three poems, one being “Faceless” from his recent collection “Heaven Is All Goodbyes”, published through San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore and is currently Shortlisted for the 2018 Griffin International Poetry Prize.

Standing in one place, slightly swaying forward and backward with transformative affect, his cadence was a mixture of inner conversation to melodic Jazz scatting, invoking the literary spiritual incantations of Gil Scott-Heron, Allen Ginsberg and Audre Lorde. He helped us feel the repetitive soulless nature of the Prison Industrial Complex and its impact on black and brown communities.

After Eisen-Martin’s applauds subsided, Moore took her place center stage endowing the students with her brand of mother-warrior unapologetic social conscious Motown-down home bluesy poetry. The students were engaged from verse to verse, especially her “You Want Poems,” published in Moore’s fourth book “Sunlight Through Bullet Holes” and featured in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History.

We wanted more (no pun intended), so much more that students wanted to hear another poem. Pressed for time, Jones had to push for a quick Q&A and book signing. The students quickly lined up to purchased Eisen-Martin and Moore’s books, CDs, and other merchandise.

Though this was an awesome and much lauded event, there are two more poetry events in May. On Thursday, May 3rd in Skyline College Library at 3:00 p.m., there will be a book release and reading from Skyline College’s English faculty member Kathleen McClung. And on Tuesday, Math 8th, Talisman Literary Magazine will have a release party and reading for Issue 48! The event starts at 6:00 p.m. in Building 6, room 6-204. Do not miss out!

Article by Sherri Wyatt | Photos by Jessica Care Moore

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