Annually in the United States, the month of February is recognized as Black History Month. The month of February celebrates the contributions Black people have made to the nation’s history. One category warranting recognition is the past and present contributions of Black American poets. From Phillis Wheatly, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Audre Lorde, Langston Hughes, Gill Scott-Heron, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Saul Williams, Natasha Trethewey, Terrance Hayes, and so many others. The history of America’s Black poetic voices is rich and noteworthy.
On February 28, 2021 at 7:00PM via Zoom, distinguished Oregon and Washington Poet Laureates will join with Black American poet Emmett Wheatfall in A Celebration of Black Poetic Voices. Emmett Wheatfall, with guest poets Paulann Petersen and Christopher Luna will not read their own poetic works, but those works of great past and present Black American poets.
Emmett Wheatfall is a poet and recording artist. He has published 7 books of poetry and released 4 albums of lyrical poetry set to jazz, blues, and gospel music. Emmett Wheatfall is one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier Black American poets.
Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita, has seven books of poetry, most recently One Small Sun, from Salmon Poetry of Ireland, the American Library Association’s Booklist calls One Small Sun “a veritable master class in the interweaving of metaphor and memory.”
Christopher Luna is the founder of the Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic, established in 2004. He is the author of Message from the Vessel in a Dream, and served as Clark County, WA's first poet laureate from 2013-2017.