Marvin Tate and Poetic Intimacy

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When one reads a poem by Marvin Tate, author of The Amazing Mister Orange, there is a sense that he is not speaking to the world, or even an audience; he is speaking directly to you. Take, for example, “Open Mic Night”:
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The Sound of Poetry featuring Marvin Tate

Marvin Tate side  Wednesday, March 26, 2014

6:30pm

Blackstone Library

4904 S. Lake Park Ave.

Performance poet and lyricist, Marvin Tate combines raw-blues/soul and gospel with stream-of-consciousness storytelling and performance that has been described as “Outsider Soul” – Amazon.com. Tate, founder of the legendary funk band D-Settlement, will read from his upcoming collection of poems, The Amazing Mister Orange, due for release from Curbside Splendor Publishing.

In this collection, Marvin Tate writes Outsider poetry about relationships, death, sex, drugs, dogs, immortality, and Chicago. Inspired by Ainsworth Rosewell, a self-professed genius and con man who committed suicide in 1996 by jumping from the seventh floor of the Water Tower Mall, these poems explode with nontraditional humor and vibrant characters, both real and imagined.

Tate will have books, CDs, and albums available for sale.

The Sound of Poetry featuring Marvin Tate is part of the Despres Family Memorial Lecture Series. It takes place March 26, 2014 at Blackstone Library, 4904 S. Lake Park Ave. at 6:30 pm.

Register here for this event.

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Beautiful Bugs

13521_10100820105184759_435118792_n“I think about my father a lot. And how the scarab beetle, the sign of rebirth, landed on me moments before my father’s life was taken. And how it multiplied” (Nnedi Okorafor, The Shadow Speaker). This small excerpt from Okorafor’s sophomore novel is just one of many metaphors and ideas encapsulated in the symbol of an insect throughout her work. Where one might see a terrifying or disgusting creature, Okorafor sees beauty and possibility – but from where did this fascination with the earth’s smallest and most underappreciated inhabitants arise? The obvious answer lies in Okorafor’s apparent fascination with entomology, or the study of insects. According to her blog, a career in entomology was, in fact, an aspiration of Okorafor’s growing up. While the world is thankful that she found her niche as an author, Okorafor has clearly never given up on her love of insects.
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An Evening with Nnedi Okorafor

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014
6:30 pm
Blackstone Library
4904 S. Lake Park Ave.

A highly regarded science fiction/fantasy writer, Nnedi Okorafor will read from her most recent collection of short stories, Kabu Kabu, and her novel Who Fears Death for which she won the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature. Join us to hear the work of this wonderful thinker and writer.

Dr. Okorafor holds an MA in journalism from Michigan State University and a MA and PhD in English from the University of Illinois-Chicago. She is also a graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop.

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Ending the School to Prison Pipeline, Part 2

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Kids Need Education, Not Incarceration

(Read part 1 of this post here.)

The school-to-prison pipeline overwhelmingly affects poor black and Latino youth with disabilities. Instead of an appropriate education, they face zero tolerance policies that result in suspensions and expulsions that ultimately jettison them from school. Black students with disabilities are three times more likely to be suspended than white students with disabilities.

The current arrangement is expensive. The average daily cost for educating a youth in Chicago Public School is $74.21, while we pay $501.93 per day for youth in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. The economic choice is clear, we need to get these kids the services they need to learn, grow and become productive adults with hope. And, from the perspective that youth are our future and every human life matters, we have an obligation to give all youth a chance in life.

Over the past year the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation at Roosevelt University launched a new program in the Juvenile Court building that provides advocacy for youth with disabilities. Through the program, probation officers in Diversion refer youth with disabilities to advocates who work to ensure youth get the services they need in school (and other areas of life). The goal is to help the youth successfully complete their education and not recidivate. If we can help the youth successfully complete their education we will save taxpayers money, and give children a chance in the world.

Darrell surely faces many obstacles and his story is still unfolding, but we know that without education and without addressing his disabilities, we will likely see him going deeper into the juvenile justice system. Together with the Family Resource Center on Disabilities and his grandmother, Darrell may now be able to get the services he needs in order to access his education.

– submitted by Heather Dalmage, PhD
Director, Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation
Professor of Sociology
Roosevelt University

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Ending the School to Prison Pipeline, Part 1

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Kids Need Education, Not Incarceration

At age of three, Darrell, a handsome brown skinned boy, was diagnosed with ADHD. Now, a 15 year-old freshman with family problems he was sent to live with his grandma. Just a month into his freshman year of high school he was in a new neighborhood and school without an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or medication. The school year was already underway with students and teachers in the flow of the daily curriculum, seating charts, locker assignments and friendship. Kids face a host of issues entering school midstream, but it’s particularly difficult when, like Darrell, they have unaddressed invisible disabilities. Continue reading

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Great Evening with AREA Chicago

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It was a cold wintry night but a little hot tea and coffee and great conversation warmed us up for a wonderful evening with AREA Chicago and the question of “Writing Children.” Presenters from three different projects shared the challenges they found in recording the voices of children – their thoughts, their feelings, their opinions, their responses to what’s happening around them and to them. Barriers like not actively listening, judging what they say or adult control all played a factor in children not being accurately portrayed. The children were always honest when given the chance to express themselves and most readily responded to adults they had some rapport with and trusted. So the real key is how adults will choose to make room for these authentic independent voices.

AREA Chicago will host other presentations this year for their Issue #14 Kids! Check their website for more info – areachicago.org. And look out for the printed issue coming this spring.

We have a few more posts on this topic of children in Chicago so keep watching!

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