Freedom Now! A Success on October 19, 2016

Artistic Director Karma Mayet Johnson
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Artistic Director Karma Mayet Johnson and her inter-generational village of poets and musicians rocked the stage on Wednesday, October 19, with an evening-long concert of artistic rebellion celebrating Cave Canem’s 2oth anniversary. View the full program on YouTube.

Inspired by jazz composer and drummer Max Roach’s WE INSIST!, as well as texts by Audre Lorde and Henry Dumas projected overhead throughout the evening, Cave Canem co-founders Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady moved us with original poems-in-song, including Eady’s homage to Bree Newsome, who climbed a flagpole to remove the emblem of white supremacist violence, and Derricotte’s painfully exquisite “Exits from Elmina Castle: Cape Coast Ghana.” We were uplifted by the voices of young poets and elders, of string, horn and drum, and the rebellious inflections of Linton Kwesi Johnson. Thank you, genius artists for perpetuating the legacy and quilting an unforgettable  narrative of resistance, consciousness, hope and transcendence.

We’re deeply grateful to our co-presenter the Schomburg Center, our sponsors, funders, staff, volunteers, and you, our faithful audience.



Artistic Director Karma Mayet Johnson; poets Toi Derricotte, Cornelius Eady, Mahlaney Wilson and Zubaida Bello; musicians Lewis Barnes, Lisala Beatty, Melanie Dyer, Christopher Eddleton, Henry Grimes,  Alex Harding, Val Jeanty, Juliette Jones,  André Lassalle, Jadele McPherson, Jared Michael Nickerson, and Marvin Sewell.

Cave Canem Foundation, Inc. and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Lead Sponsor
Marie-Elizabeth Mali

Sustaining Sponsors
Adelphi University Creative Writing MFA; Hallie S. Hobson; and the Institute for Research in African-American Studies, Columbia University

Supporting Sponsors
The Center for African American Poetry & Poetics and The Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh, Northwestern University Press, and NYU Creative Writing Program

Associate Sponsors
92 St Y Unterberg Poetry Center: The Voice of Literature; Graywolf Press: A World of Voices; The New School, MFA Creative Writing Program; Poetry Center,  San Francisco  State University; and Wick Poetry Center, Kent State University

Grace Farms

Poets & Writers: This event is funded in part by Poets & Writers with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and Puffin Foundation, Ltd.

Event Photographer
nívea castro


Meghan Berry, Monique Briones, Ama Codjoe, Nicholas Nichols, Sharlene Piverger, William Sledge, and Zing Tyehemba