Jasmine Elizabeth Smith Reads South Flight
Jasmine Elizabeth Smith, poet and educator
Coach House, Green College, UBC and livestreamed
Wednesday, April 10, 5-6:30pm with reception to followin the series
The Whole Cloth Reading Series
In her debut poetry collection, Jasmine Elizabeth Smith takes inspiration from Oklahoma Black history. In the wake of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, Jim Waters makes the difficult decision to leave behind his lover, Beatrice Vernadene Chapel, who as a Black woman must navigate the dangerous climate that produced the Jim Crow South and Red Summer. As Beatrice and Jim write letters to one another and hold imagined conversations with blues musicians Ida B. Cox, Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Ethel Waters and the ghosts of Greenwood, the couple interrogates themes of blues epistemology, Black feminism, fraught attachments and the way in which Black Americans have often changed their geographical regions with the hope of improving their conditions. The poetry collection South Flight is a eulogy, a blues, an unabashed love letter and ragtime to the history of resistance, migration and community in Black Oklahoma.
This event has been co-organized with Creative Writing.
Jasmine Elizabeth Smith (she/her) is a Black poet and educator from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She received her MFA in Poetry from the University of California in Riverside. She is a Cave Canem and Black Arts Institute fellow. A docu-poet, Jasmine Elizabeth’s creative work is invested in interrogating the Diaspora of Black Americans in various historical contexts and eras while reclaiming what was once dispossessed from the margins of the archive. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has been featured in publications such as World Literature Today, POETRY and LA Review of Books among others. Her debut collection South Flight (University of Georgia Press, 2021) was named a finalist for the 2020 National Poetry Series and is the winner of the Georgia Poetry Prize selected by Ilya Kaminsky. Smith currently teaches high school English in Seattle, Washington.
An experience in deep listening, each Whole Cloth Reading Series event features a single poet who reads an entire book of poems from cover to cover. While poets devote immense craft to shaping a book, public readings tend to favor selections and excerpts. Uniting writer and audience in a celebration of expansive and unhurried attention, this series creates a rare environment for the investigation of poetry, sound, delivery and reciprocity. Each event features a transformative (short!) book and concludes in time for a cordial reception and conversation.
Series Conveners: Elee Kraljii Gardiner, poet; Bronwen Tate, Creative Writing
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