As National Poetry Month comes to a close, Illinois Prairie District Public Library in Woodford County is taking a closer look at poetry as expression in today’s society. Amanda Gorman, who spoke at the inauguration of President Biden, has graced the cover of magazines. Brandon Leake was crowned the winner of last year’s America’s Got Talent with his original spoken-word compositions. Elizabeth Acevedo and Mahogany L. Browne have elevated their craft to writing entire novels in verse, using meter, rhyme, and rhythm to convey the feelings and experiences of traditionally marginalized groups and to bring attention to issues of social justice, racism, and sexism.
Ms. Acevedo and Ms. Browne are both award-winning poets and authors, having written a number of books and anthologies separately and together. Ms. Acevedo’s most recent book, Clap When You Land, was inspired by a 2001 plane crash in New York that killed over 250 people headed to the Dominican Republic. The novel is about two sisters, one in New York, the other in the Dominican Republic, who only discover the other’s existence (and their father’s secret double life) after his death in the crash. Ms. Browne’s most recent work, also a novel in verse, is Chlorine Sky, about a young girl struggling to establish her own identity beyond that of being a daughter or a friend. Together, Ms. Acevedo and Ms. Browne (along with poet Olivia Gatwood) published Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice in 2020. Woke speaks directly to tweens and teens about the joy and passion in the fight for social justice, tackling topics from discrimination to empathy, and acceptance to speaking out.
IPDPL is partnering with other libraries to present an online author talk with Elizabeth Acevedo and Mahogany L. Browne on Thursday, May 6, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Those interested can sign up at https://bit.ly/IPDPL-AandB.