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‘Poetry You Should Read Right Now’

Prize winners John Murillo and Tyehimba Jess at Woodland Pattern

Nov. 29, 2016
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Street-smart and social justice-minded, John Murillo’s spoken word-style poems are alive with emotion. His intelligent stanzas range from the L.A.-born artist’s intimate childhood memories to broader poetic calls for political overhaul. John Murillo’s first collection of poetry, Up Jump the Boogie, was a finalist for the PEN Open Book Award and was named by The Huffington Post as one of “Ten Recent Books of Poetry You Should Read Right Now.” A graduate of both Howard University and New York University, Murillo currently teaches at NYU and Hampshire College. Over the past few decades, his poems have earned him honors from a Pushcart Prize to a fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing. 

Murillo will appear at Woodland Pattern Book Center alongside fellow poet and NYU alumni Tyehimba Jess. Raised in Detroit, Jess’ original work blends together his own unique stories and those of other African Americans. In his debut collection of poetry, leadbelly (2005), he narrates the impressive story of Louisiana-born folk and blues singer and multi-instrumentalist Huddie William Ledbetter and his tumultuous troubles with the law. leadbelly was named one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005” by The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review. Jess is an associate professor of English at the College of Staten Island.

Poets John Murillo and Tyehimba Jess will perform a live reading at Woodland Pattern beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2 in an event that will also feature guest curator Nick Demske. Demske, a Racine resident and a children’s librarian at Racine Public Library, is the author of a chapbook entitled Skeetly Deetly Deet (2012).

Book Happening:

Erika Janik

6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 6

Milwaukee Public Library East Branch

2320 N. Cramer St.

Long before Nancy Drew arrived on the literary scene as a sleuthy icon to generations of young readers, female characters in crime fiction were well represented by intelligent, multi-faceted protagonists. In Petticoats and Pistols, scholar Erika Janik recounts the unconventional history of 19th- and early 20th-century female trailblazers who solved crimes, served as leaders in law enforcement and paved the way for today’s most prominent mystery writers including Patricia Cornwell, Sara Paretsky and others. The author of five previous books, award-winning writer Erika Janik will discuss her newest chronicle, Petticoats and Pistols, at the East Public Library. Co-sponsor Boswell Book Co. will be on hand with copies for purchase. Janik is a Madison resident and serves as the executive producer of “Wisconsin Life” on Wisconsin Public Radio. 

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