Coordinated by a committee comprising Writing faculty, Library staff, and representatives of the Divisions of Academic Affairs and Student Engagement, Guttman celebrated National Poetry Month throughout the month of April with a series of inspiring events, both synchronous and asynchronous. Virtual events held in real time included readings and conversations featuring the following published poets and educators:
- Teka Lo, a poet, essayist, and journalist from Los Angeles currently residing in New York. Lo is the founder and editor of Public Intellectuals and the author of the poetry collection Queen of Inglewood (Word Palace Press).
- Matt Sedillo, described as the best political poet in America and the “poet laureate of the struggle.” Sedillo is the author of Mowing Leaves of Grass (Flowersong Press) and the forthcoming City on the Second Floor.
- Verna “Ms. V” Moron, a poet and educator on both the East and West coasts.
- Carlos iro Burgos, author of two collections of poetry (From Boy to IRO and Spanglibonics), which have been required reading across history, arts, and culture courses within CUNY and in various colleges around the country. Burgos’s work (both intellectual and artistic) focuses on questions of the human, identity, relationships, power, and politics.
- Tyehimba Jess, 2017 Pulitzer Prize winning poet and author of Olio (Wave Books, 2016), and leadbelly (Wave Books, 2005), winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. Jess has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship, and a Whiting Award. He is the poetry and fiction editor of African American Review and an Associate Professor of English at the College of Staten Island, CUNY.
In addition to these online, synchronous events, the College coordinated the following asynchronous activities:
- A workshop on the analysis of hip-hop, coordinated and hosted by the Liberal Arts and Sciences and Urban Studies Program of Study
- Recorded discussions of poetry by Guttman faculty and students
- A selection of poems meaningful to Guttman faculty and staff
- Links to a digital “museum” of historical and contemporary poets, and
- An Open Mic coordinated and hosted by Guttman Peer Mentors
To highlight the rich diversity of student voices, experiences, and perspectives at Guttman, the month-long celebration culminated in a poetry contest and publication opportunity for students. This exciting initiative was realized in partnership with Amplifying Student Voices and in conjunction with the Office of AccessAbility’s DisABILITY as Diversity programming.