Langston Hughes National Poetry Project, "Speaking of Rivers: Taking Poetry to the People"
As of fall 2004, the African American Literature and Culture Society and Marygrove College, one of the twenty nation-wide poetry circle sites of the Langston Hughes National Poetry Project, "Speaking of Rivers: Taking Poetry to the People," have partnered with five national poetry sponsors, including the Langston Hughes Society, the American Academy of Poets (AAP), the American Jazz Museum, National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the Audio Reader Network at the University of Kansas, to create new opportunities for reading and discussing Hughes' works.
Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and housed at the University of Kansas (http://www.kuce.org/hughes), since the centennial celebration of Hughes' life and works in 2002, the specific goal of the project is to increase interest in and exposure to poetry as a spoken and written art.
Plans are on the way for a March 18, 2005 workshop to bring 30-40 young aspiring high school poets, a guest lecturer and poet to Marygrove, which will culminate in an evening coffee house sponsored by Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society. In the future, members of the AALCS will also be asked to give presentations, lectures, and workshops at Marygrove.
In June 2004, funded by a grant, six scholars traveled to Japan, including former president, Wilfred D. Samuels (University of Utah), and Keith Byerman (Indiana State University), coordinator of the project. In 2005, near the end of July, a group of Japanese scholars will meet at Indiana State University, along with two members of the executive committee of the African American Literature and Culture Society (AALCS), College Language Association (CLA), National Council of Black Studies (NCBS), The Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH), and the National Association of African American Studies (NAAAS), to make plans for future exchanges and scholarly pursuits.
After the summer of 2005, we look forward to an exchange with Japan and the US for several years to come. More information and pictures are forthcoming in the newsletter next spring.