On May 3rd, 2014 Poets Network & Exchange Scholar Lecture Series, presented Ogboni: A Panel Discussion and Featured
Poetry Reading. Our esteembed Ogboni panel addressed issues
and concerns men of color face in publishing and as writers.
The concept Ogboni is a fraternal institution indigenous to the Yoruba language. The Ogboni are recognized for their veneration
of the personified earth and benevolent service to the community. Our four panelist and featured poets exemplify this concept.
Our Esteemed Orgboni Circle of featured panelists and poets included:
GARY JOHNSTON, (panelist & poet)
New York State Foundation on the Arts Fellow and winner of the William C. Wolfson Award for Poetry, a BRIO Award, Bronx ACE Award for Poetry. And Herbert H. Lehman College Award for Poetry. Mr. Johnston is a member of Poets and Writers, Bronx Council on the Arts and African Diaspora Poets. He is co founder of Blind Beggar Press Inc.
JASON KOO, (panelist & poet)
Founder / Executive Director of Brooklyn Poets. He’s the author of America’s Favorite Poem (C&R Press, 2014) and Man on Extremely Small Island (C&R Press, 2009), winner of the De Novo Poetry Prize and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop Members’ Choice Award for the best Asian American book of 2009. He earned his BA in English from Yale, his MFA in creative writing from the University of Houston and his PhD in English and creative writing from the University of Missouri-Columbia. The winner of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center and New York State Writers Institute,
he has published his poetry and prose in numerous journals, including the Yale Review, North American Review and Missouri Review. He is an assistant professor of English at Quinnipiac University and lives in Brooklyn Heights.
JESUS “PAPOLETO” MELENDEZ, (panelist & poet)
Born and raised in El Barrio (also known as “East Harlem” or “Spanish Harlem,” He published his first poem, “Message To Urban Sightseers” in Talkin’ About Us (NY, 1969). He went on to publish his first volumes of poetry, Casting Long Shadows (NY, 1970), Have You Seen Liberation (NY, 1971), and Street Poetry & Other Poems (Barlenmir House, NY 1972), which firmly established Meléndez in the Nuyorican community. During the 1970s, he worked as a teacher-poet for Teachers & Writers Collaborative, a group of writers and educators who believed that writers could make a unique contribution to the teaching of writing.
Meléndez is credited as one of the original founders of the Nuyorican Movement. Headquartered in New York City in El Barrio, the movement evolved during the late 1960s and forged a distinctly “Nuyorican” aesthetic and consciousness. Meléndez’ early and close collaboration with poets and writers such as Miguel Algarín, Pedro Pietri, Sandra Maria Esteves, Miguel Piñero, Lois Elaine Griffith, Ntozake Shange and Tato Laviera contributed to the founding of the Nuyorican Poets Café in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, which helped to foster a fertile environment for an emerging generation of Puerto Rican writers, scholars and artists raised predominantly in New York.
WILLIAM S. PETERS Sr. (panelist & poet)
Is a Writer / Poet, Spoken Word and Recording Artist. He is also a
social activist, Reiki Master, Blogger, radio show personality public speaker / workshop leader, producer, consultant empowerment coach, CEO Inner Child Enterprises, publisher: Inner Child Press, Director of Publicity : Society Hill Music, Inc. and columnist.
To learn more visit: http://www.iamjustbill.com/all-me.php#sthash.qQMxGGM5.dpuf
WILLIAM WASHINGTON (poet)
“Words of William” Washington, is a Motivational Speaker, Street Preacher, Poet, and Spoken Word Artist, also he is the Blogtalk Radio host, of “The Village Speaks Hosted By William Washington”, from which he is taking a short hiatus, in order to further his career, as a Professional Poet, and Show Emcee. He has opened up for the Classic Soul singing group, “Greg Hill & The Delfonics Revue”, on several occasions. He is currently starring in the Off-Off BroadwayShowcase- Sistahs Black Like Me Presents “Faces I, II, and III”, at the Mist Harlem Theater. William Washington is, the author of the controversial book, “The Nigger Chronicles/The Mispronunciation Of Who I Am”. William is 55 years of age. A native New Yorker, and life long Epileptic. Poetry and prayer, is his therapy. Reaching one person’s heart, and mind, is his cure.
Thank you, Gary Johnston, Jason Koo, Jesus Papaleto Melendez William S. Peters Sr. and William Washington, our distinguished Ogboni panel and featured poets for an inspiring, informative, passionate, invigorating, insightful, and enriching discussion. Your scholarship, expertise, experience, and knowledge was deeply appreciated by all in attendance.
©Lorraine Currelley 2014. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication of this material without express and written permission from this author is strictly prohibited.