Community Voices: Poets Speak – Tongo Eisen-Martin
685 Mission Street
In this weekly summer series, eight Bay Area poets share new poems created in response to the current exhibitions. They will also describe the processes they employ in writing ekphrastic work. Come and see, come and listen, come and experience the art that moves your spirit to consider power and liberation.
June 6 – August 1 feature individual performances.
Community Voices: Poets Speak is curated by Raina J. León.
The exhibition on view is Coffee, Rhum, Sugar & Gold: A Postcolonial Paradox.
Coffee, Rhum, Sugar & Gold: A Postcolonial Paradox looks at the legacy of European colonialism in the Caribbean through the work of 10 contemporary artists. Whether connected to the Caribbean by birth or focused on the region by choice, the exhibiting artists use their work as a means of examining the relationship between the power structure, those who are controlled by it, those who benefit from it, and those who actively seek to liberate themselves from it. A key driver of the exhibition is the theory that colonialism has continued to exist in other forms, and is in fact spreading through the export of soft power, the use of military force, the control of international financial and banking mechanisms, as well as the increase in globalization.
Tongo Eisen-Martin was born in San Francisco and earned his MA at Columbia University. He is the author of someone’s dead already (Bootstrap Press, 2015), nominated for a California Book Award; and Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights, 2017), which received a 2018 American Book Award, a 2018 California Book Award, was named a 2018 National California Booksellers Association Poetry Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the 2018 Griffin International Poetry Prize. Eisen-Martin is also an educator and organizer whose work centers on issues of mass incarceration, extrajudicial killings of Black people, and human rights. He has taught at detention centers around the country and at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University. He lives in San Francisco.
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