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On Blackness Re-imagined: A Performance and Conversation with Krista Franklin and Michael Warr

Krista Franklin and Michael Warr perform poems from their new collections. Franklin’s Study of Love & Black Body deals with ideas of motherhood, the body, cultural and internal conflict, and identity from a variety of angles. In The Armageddon of Funk, Warr uses “poetic memoir” to interconnect a world of opposites—the morality of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the revolutionary theories and free love of Black Panthers, the promise of a bourgeois future from bank executives, and more.

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Krista Franklin and Michael Warr perform poems from their new collections. Franklin’s Study of Love & Black Body is a small collection of poems that deals with ideas of motherhood, the body, cultural and internal conflict, and identity from a variety of angles. In The Armageddon of Funk, Warr manages to interconnect a world of opposites. Via “poetic memoir” we encounter the morality of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the revolutionary theories and free love of Black Panthers, the promise of a bourgeois future from bank executives, and more.

Listen in to an evocative evening of performance and conversation.

Krista Franklin is a poet and visual artist from Dayton, OH, who lives and works in Chicago. Her poetry and mixed medium collages have been published in lifestyle and literary journals such as Coon Bidness, Copper Nickel, RATTLE, Indiana Review, Ecotone, Clam and Callaloo, and in the anthologies Encyclopedia Vol. II, F-K, and Gathering Ground. Her visual art has been featured on the covers of award-winning books and exhibited nationally in solo and group exhibitions. Franklin is a Cave Canem Fellow, a cofounder of 2nd Sun Salon, a community meeting space for writers, visual, and performance artists, musicians, and scholars, and a teaching artist for Young Chicago Authors, Neighborhood Writing Alliance, and numerous organizations in the city of Chicago.

Michael Warr was honored by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association for his new book of poetry The Armageddon of Funk. He is also author of We Are All The Black Boy, and an editor of Power Lines: A Decade of Poetry From Chicago’s Guild Complex, all published by Tia Chucha Press. Other literary awards include the Gwendolyn Brooks Significant Illinois Poets Award, a National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, and the Ragdale Foundation U.S.-Africa Fellowship. A frequent collaborator with musicians and visual and performing artists, Michael’s poems have been dramatized on stage, depicted on canvas, and set to original music compositions. His recordings can be found on the CDs A Snake in the Heart: Poems and Music by Chicago Spoken Word Performers and nefasha ayerthe space of in between (featuring Meklit Hadero), and at www.poetryspeaks.com/michaelwarr.

The audio to this event is in two parts. Part one is accessible via the audio player at the top of this article. Part two is available below.

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Recorded Friday, June 8, 2012 at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum.

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