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Race, Racial Justice, & Their Intersections with Art: A Conversation and Reading w/ Poet Terrance Hayes, Moderated by Poet Teri Ellen Cross Davis

Tuesday, September 27, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm


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Sponsored by National Capital Bank

In collaboration with Folger Shakespeare Library, Mosaic Theatre Company, and Hill Center’s Benjamin Drummond Emancipation Day Celebration.

Hill Center is honored to welcome MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient Terrance Hayes and Folger Shakespeare Library Poetry Programs manager Teri Ellen Cross Davis for an in-depth conversation about the intersection of racial justice and art and its power to illuminate America’s unresolved issues of race.

This program is in conjunction with Mosaic Theatre’s production of Ifa Bayeza’s epic The Till Trilogy, which will be produced this fall. The Till Trilogy shines a new light on one of the most pivotal moments in our collective American history – the murder of fourteen year-old Emmett Till in 1955 –and the ongoing fight for racial justice that it inspired. This conversation is part of The Till Trilogy Reflection Series.

Want to study up before the event?
A sestina is a poem with six stanzas of six lines and a final triplet. Terrance Hayes has created this visual “sestina generator” to, in his own words, “get a reader to make something – to set up something for readers to use to generate a poem – it’s a dialogue with the reader — artistic participation.”

We encourage you to create your own Emmett Till poem using Terrance’s model.

About Terrance Hayes: One of the most compelling voices in American poetry, Terrance Hayes curated the collection Saying His Name: Poems on Emmett Till, which explores how Till has become a haunting, powerful figure in Black poetry – and Black public grief – through the work of 10 important poets.

Hayes is an elegant and adventurous writer with disarming humor, grace, tenderness, and brilliant turns of phrase, exploring what it means to be an artist and a Black man. He is the author of six poetry collections: American Sonnets for My Past And Future Assassin, a finalist for the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and TS Eliot Prize; How to Be DrawnLighthead, winner of the 2010 National Book Award for poetry; Muscular Music, recipient of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award; Hip Logic, winner of the 2001 National Poetry Series; and Wind in a Box. His prose collection, To Float In The Space Between: Drawings and Essays in Conversation with Etheridge Knight, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism. Hayes has received fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, and Whiting Foundation, and is a professor of English at New York University.

About Teri Ellen Cross Davis: Teri Ellen Cross Davis is the author of a more perfect Union 2019 winner of The Journal/Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize — and Haint — winner of the 2017 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. She is the recipient of the Poetry Society of America’s Robert H. Winner Memorial Prize, a Cave Canem fellow, and the O.B. Hardison Poetry Series Curator and Poetry Programs manager for the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

We look forward to welcoming these two brilliant poets to Hill Center for what promises to be an enthralling and important discussion.

East City Bookshop will have books by Terrance Hayes and Teri Ellen Cross Davis available for sale and signing — purchase your advance copy here!

The event will be hybrid with options for in-person and virtual attendance — a Zoom link will be sent out upon purchase of ticket(s).

For in-person attendance, we require all attendees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Benjamin Drummond Emancipation Day Celebration 

Now in its 7th year, Hill Center’s Benjamin Drummond series honors America’s first liberated enslaved people with scholarly and celebratory programs that bring together a diverse group of prominent experts, artists, and public figures throughout the year to explore the Civil War and its aftermath from the African American perspective. Named for the Old Naval Hospital’s first patient, a young African American seaman taken prisoner by Confederated ships, Benjamin Drummond Emancipation Day Celebration marks 160 years since President Abraham Lincoln signed The District of Columbia Emancipation Act, which freed DC’s over 3000 enslaved people nearly nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation.

The Benjamin Drummond Emancipation Day Celebration series is made possible by National Capital Bank, DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, Capitol Hill Community Foundation.





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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
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Hill Center DC
921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington,DC20003United States
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