Words by: Mikaya Kelly
On Thursday Oct. 5, Florida A&M University had the pleasure of hosting the Younger Poets Series featuring Eve L. Ewing and Hanif Abdurraqib in the Lecture Hall of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication. The event was put together by the Department of English and Modern Languages College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities. Both Ewing and Abdurraqib are the two components of the writing collective group called Echo Hotel.
The event began with a poem from FAMU student Jatericka Connelly of the English program titled ‘Black Girl.’ Miss Ewing was introduced by Madelyn McClarey followed by the introduction of Abdurraqib by Robert Rimpson.
Eve Ewing is a 31-year-old sociologist, poet, essayist, visual artist, and educator from the Logan Square community of the south side of Chicago, IL. After graduating from the Chicago public school system she received her undergraduate degree with honors in English Language & Literature from the University of Chicago, with a focus on African American literature of the twentieth century. Furthering her education, she completed her doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She also holds a MAT in Elementary Education from Dominican University and an M.Ed. in Education Policy and Management from Harvard. Ewing’s first collection of poetry, essays, and visual art, “Electric Arches” was recently released on September 12, 2017. Her other works have been published in venues such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and Poetry Magazine.
Ewing’s counterpart is none other than 33-year-old Hanif Abdurraqib, who is a poet, writer, and cultural critic from Columbus, OH. His first book of poems, “The Crown Ain’t Worth Much” was released in June 2016 by way of Button Poetry. He’s worked for MTV News, where he’s written about the intersection of music, culture, and identity. He most recently wrote the 2016 live shows for the MTV Video Music Awards and VH1’s “Unsilent Night.” His upcoming debut collection of essays ‘They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us’ will be published in November 2017. He has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, ESPN the Magazine, The Fader, MTV and The Nation.
Ewing read a few poems from her newly released book “Electric Arches: Shea Butter Manifesto,” “Origin Story,” “Ode to Lusters Pink Oil,” “July July,” “Why You Cannot Touch My Hair,” “What I Mean When I Say I’m Sharpening My Oyster Knife,” “One Good Time for Marilyn Mosby,” “Affirmation,” “Horror,” and two other poems whose names were not quoted.
Abdurraqib read old and new poems from his previous book “The Crown Ain’t Worth Much” as well as his upcoming book “They Can’t Kills Us Until They Kill Us,” including “Kirk Franklin Has to Be in Every Rap Song from Now On,” “The Prestige,” “It’s Not Like Nick Latessa Knew That All Those People Were Going to Die,” “No Diggity,” and “The Dozens,” among others. Closing remarks were made by English Dept. Chair Dr. Yakini B. Kemp.