#AWP18 Event Organizer Q&A with Carey Salerno
AWP | January 2018
Event Title: A Tribute to June Jordan
Description: This tribute celebrates the work of June Jordan, award-winning American poet, playwright, essayist, and teacher. Over a career that produced twenty-seven volumes of poems, essays, libretti, and work for children, Jordan engaged the fundamental struggles of her era: over civil rights, women’s rights, and sexual freedom. Poets and writers celebrate her influential position in American letters, sharing and discussing their favorite works, and conveying the power and prowess of June Jordan.
Participants: Patricia Spears Jones, Javier Zamora, Evie Shockley, Patrick Rosal, Carey Salerno
Location: Ballroom D, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Date & Time: Thursday, March 8 from 12 noon–1:15 p.m.
Q: What new understanding or knowledge will attendees walk away with from your event?
A: For those who are discovering June Jordan’s body of literary work, we hope they’ll find a deep appreciation for her revolutionary, singular voice. June Jordan was a literary soldier and is an incredibly influential, major American writer. Her work is powerful, wise, and expansive. She wrote across genres. For those already familiar with June Jordan, we hope they will experience real community and kinship at the event, celebrating (and finding deep comfort in) her literary prowess, her ferocious spirit, her tenderness, and her vision for the world.
Q: What makes your event relevant and important in 2018?
A: As Cornelius Eady said at our recent event in New York, “It’s not just resistance, its insistence.” June Jordan was an activist and a poet—two roles that are incredibly vital right now. Her poems about police violence, women’s rights, her celebration of Black life and culture, and her words of abiding love are as important to us now as they were when written. They are “black, alive, and looking back at [us.]”
Q: What are some of the conference events (besides your own) or Bookfair exhibitors you look forward to seeing?
A: It’s hard to choose. We mostly look forward to meeting and talking with everyone at the bookfair who comes by the Alice James Books booth—our authors, readers, longtime fans or new ones. Saturday’s reading with Mark Doty, Khaled Mattawa, and Layli Long Soldier is definitely on our list. Also, who doesn’t want to be at Dazzling Jimi: A Tribute to Patricia Smith with (hold-up) Danez Smith, Fatimah Asghar, Paul Tran, Patricia Smith, and Angel Nafis on Friday afternoon?! Whoa.
Q: What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
A: They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us–Hanif Abdurraqib (Two Dollar Radio)
White Tears–Hari Kunzru (Penguin RH)
The Wrong Way to Save Your Life–Megan Stielstra (Harper)
Little Fires Everywhere–Celeste Ng (Penguin)
Swing Time–Zadie Smith (Penguin)