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Woodberry Poetry Room

ORAL HISTORY INITIATIVE: On Helene Johnson & The Harlem Renaissance

Tuesday, November 2, 2021, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Online, Open to the public, Event,

Please join us as we launch a series of conversations about pioneering Boston women poets with this rare look at the remarkable life and work of Helene Johnson (1906-1995), featuring a dynamic conversation with her daughter Abigail McGrath and readings of Johnson's work by U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith and Eileen Myles.

Moderated by Johnson scholar Vernon D. Mitchell, the event will offer audiences a unique lens on such friends as Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, as well as the poet's cousin Dorothy West. It will also provide the first opportunity to encounter several lost manuscripts by Johnson that were discovered during the Pandemic.

The program will end with an engaging Q&A session with the audience and a brief film---written by Johnson's neighbor Matt Imperiale and produced by John Mulrooney---featuring rare photographs and manuscripts (performed by Toni Bee and Danielle LeGros-Georges).

Further Reading: To learn more about Helene Johnson's work, we encourage you to read This Waiting for Love: Helene Johnson: Poet of the Harlem Renaissance, ed. Vernon D. Mitchell, and the Lost & Found chapbook series edition of Johnson's work: "The Boat Is Tethered to the Floor": After the Harlem Renaissance. We also invite you to visit Renaissance House, a remarkable program established by Abigail McGrath on Martha's Vineyard.


REGISTER HERE: To receive a Zoom link to the event.

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Event Organizer

Christina Davis