Award-Winning Poets Visit FAMU

Guests look on as the President of Voices Poetry Group,
Justan Shin recites his poem

The Department of English and Modern Languages hosted the Young Poets Series featuring two award winning poets, Danez Smith and Yolanda Franklin, Wednesday at 7 p.m in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Gallery.

Franklin, who is a Tallahassee native and Florida State University Ph.D. student, expressed it was a big moment for her performing in her hometown.

“I was in love with the venue and excited to be in this space,” Franklin said. “I wanted everyone here to experience how much we love poetry.”

This was the second year of the Young Poets Series. English Department Chair, Dr. Yakini Kemp, explained that it was Professor Kristine Snodgrass’ idea to make the series an annual event.

“It’s really important that our students are able to see poets speak and read their work to them,” Snodgrass said. “It’s so much more to see them in person and to be able to speak and interact with them.”

Poet Yolanda Franklin reads her poem
"Anartus Poetica"
for Young Poets Series Audience.

Professor Snodgrass teaches creative writing at FAMU, wanted to use this event to promote poetry on campus. Snodgrass was pleased with the turnout of the event.

“I did not expect this big of a turnout. I expected 50 but I counted over 100,” she said.

Each poet read for about 15 minutes from their personal collection and published poetry books. They were all well received by students and guests who attended the series.

Jeff Hipsher, a graduate creative writing student at FSU, said that he enjoyed Yolanda Franklin’s writings.

“Yolanda has been reading Manual for Still Hunting White-tailed Deer in a Gated Community for a while now and it’s a killer poem,” Hipsher said. 

“It feels good to show up in room full of faces and know that there’s a connectedness in the stories,” he added.  

Guests were able to purchase the poetry book by Smith titled [Insert] Boy and Franklin’s poem Manual for Still Hunting White-tailed Deer in a Gated Community.

Voices Poetry Group, President Justan Shin, also performed at the opening of the event.  

Young Poets Series also will be presenting the Craft Lecture with Danez Smith.

The lecture will be October 8, 2015, in the FAMU's Writing Resource Center.