7/14 Backlot Garden Spot (at Lantern) Reading Recap


The reading yesterday was a success. I was joined by Omaria Sanchez Pratt, Cortland Gilliam, and Mtende Roll–each of whom had a unique and compelling aspect to what they read. Omaria's novel about the Greensboro Massacre made me want to know more. Mtende's poetry was uplifting and celebrated blackness and black identity. Cortland's work is always great but, I got to hear a few new ones that I hadn't heard him do before. I particularly enjoyed his poem about academia which highlighted its advantages and pitfalls.

The staff at Lantern was extremely accommodating and friendly. I was also happy to see my girlfriend Elisha, her coworkers, and some friends of mine from Durham in attendance including some from high school and others whose work I've seen or who I've seen perform in different creative avenues along the way. We had quite a crowd! North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green was among the people I invited who was kind enough to come and listen to us read.

I got to chat with her for a good while and was encouraged by her and others' response to the unreleased story entitled "I Promise" that I selected. The piece imagines a world where kneeling protests turn into sit-ins which upend American society. Audience members told me they were moved by it and asked where they could find it. This has encouraged me. I think I'm going to continue trying to get it published. My parents also came to the reading along with my Aunt Joyce. It's taken a moment to get here but, I feel like I have a strong foundation to build from and, I can't share it now, but there is some real construction in place!

Thanks to Cortland for helping mold this into what it became and showing us a little bit of Chapel Hill and Carrborro after it was over. Thanks also to everyone who was in attendance! I'm packing for the Hurston/Wright Weekend in DC right now but, will start planning another reading soon!