Another amazing week of WAMFEST kicks off Tuesday, April 17th at 5:30 pm with “Bob Dylan and the Poetry of Blues: A Conversation with Heralded Author Michael Gray.” Gray, the world authority on Bob Dylan, will discuss the icon’s powerful music and lyrics within the context of poetry and the traditions of the blues with our Artist in Residence/FDU Visiting Professor Wesley Stace. This event will take place in Hartman Lounge, located in Hennessy Hall/The Mansion (campus map here).
The festivities continue on Wednesday, April 18th at 3 pm in the Bottle Hill Room with the Poet Laureate of South Africa, Keorapetse ‘Willie’ Kgositsile, and poet/author David Henderson in a performance and conversation with celebrated author and FDU professor Jeffery Renard Allen (the Bottle Hill Room is in the Student Center, Building 17 on the campus map). Due to his political activism in the ’50s and early 60′s, Kgositsile lived in exile in Manhattan from 1962-75 where he fell in love with the jazz scene. Much like a jazz cat, Kgositsile improvises and riffs on themes throughout his poetry, truly illuminating the similarities between the act of writing a song and the act of writing a poem. A Harlem native, the incredibly influential biographer and poet Henderson also has an ear for jazz and a gift for incorporating the style into his poetry. Through decades performing, living in and developing the arts scene in the Lower East Side, Henderson has become famous for his melodic poetry, “lush voice” and captivating reading style. Allen, whose recent work details the life of piano prodigy Blind Tom, will lead both artists in a discussion with Stace about their experiences, their works and their take on Blind Tom.
This year’s festival will close on Thursday, April 19th with hip-hop superstar Talib Kweli and poet Quincy Troupe, another jazz-head/author with incredible talent and a genuine knack for blending the two forms. Troupe’s publications include the memoir Miles & Me, which details his close friendship with legendary trumpeter Miles Davis, along with an autobiography, poetry collection and handful of children’s books. Kweli, a long-time king of New York’s hip-hop scene, has performed with greats like Mos Def, KRS-One and the Roots. His unique style, dedication to music and gift with words truly sets him apart. Both will be performing and participating in a discussion with Stace and Allen at 2 pm in Lenfell Hall, located in Hennessy Hall/The Mansion (campus map here). Doors for this event open at 1:40 pm; tickets can be picked up in the Office of Campus Life. Ticket and FDU ID required for admission.
All events are free! Check out the schedule here and learn more about the performers here. WAMFEST would not be possible without the extraordinary generosity of Bob and Patricia Pures. For more information about our sponsors, please click here.