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Poetry Slam

digital salon: Poetry as Radical Expression

The Goethe-Institut New York welcomes award-winning poets Roger Reeves and Solmaz Sharif for a poetry reading and discussion of poetry as radical expression.

When poet Audre Lorde began a visiting professorship in West Berlin in 1984, she helped establish the term ‘Afro-German’ and encouraged a form of resistance through language. Lorde’s legacy continues to resonate today. Black Lives Matter began as a movement protesting police brutality and violence against African-Americans. BLM has expanded to confront the ways in which profound racism and racial inequality continue to define the global experience. Language is central to that experience. The language we use to articulate our sense of belonging in the world is always already politicized, including our bodies, which are claimed by language and never our own. Nonetheless, beauty survives, miraculously, under conditions of persisting violence.

What tense space does poetry occupy at the intersection of race, politics, and aesthetics? Can poetry be a catalyst for social change and emancipation? The radical expressive potential of poetry in the present is the subject of this reading and discussion between two acclaimed poets.


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