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Nevertheless, Live: Adynaton, the Promise of Silence, and the Key of Life: A Lecture by Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon
April 28, 2017 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm$5 – $10
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” —Muhammad Ali
In the face of unspeakable violence (the disappearance and murder of a little Black girl in the Mecca, a Chicago housing project), Gwendolyn Brooks’ “The Second Sermon on the Warpland” urges, “Nevertheless, live.” “Live and go out,” the poem insists, culminating in the imperative: “Conduct your blooming in the noise and whip of the whirlwind.”
This lecture explores the literary figure of Adynaton and the way black poets, such as Phillis Wheatley, June Jordan, Lucille Clifton, Afaa Weaver, and Rickey Laurentiis, bend time and make space in their poems.
Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon is the author of Open Interval, a 2009 National Book Award finalist, and Black Swan, winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, as well as Poems in Conversation and a Conversation, a chapbook collaboration with Elizabeth Alexander. She is currently at work on a third poetry collection, The Coal Tar Colors.
General Admission: $10
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