At our January 29 salon, Mahogany spent the first half of the salon paying tribute to Miss Cicely Tyson. She then led us through a journey of poetic discovery using her new YA novel in verse, Chlorine Sky for the remainder of the event. We broke down the prescriptive norms of being “girl”, wrote poetry that shatters expectations and had a Q&A session where she answered questions about poetry, writing in-verse, and living the poet’s life.
Prompt #1: Remembering Cicely Tyson
What is your purpose? And what are you going to do with that purpose?
Prompt #2: Unpacking Rules
Think back to your childhood. What instructions do you remember being told you? Rules that may have contradicted themselves? Rules that you continue to follow to date?
Prompt #3: Poetic Discovery
What images or moments kept your attention while listening to Chlorine Sky? Use a line from Chlorine Sky to kick off your own “instruction manual” or use a line to close your poem.
Some of Mahogany’s Reading Recommendations:
- Girl by Jamaica Kincaid
- We Will Not Cancel Us: Breaking the Cycle of Harm by Adrienne Maree Brown
- Bestiary by K-Ming Chang
- The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.
Mahogany L. Browne is a writer, organizer & educator. She is also the Executive Director of Bowery Poetry Club & Artistic Director of Urban Word NYC & Poetry Coordinator at St. Francis College. Browne has received fellowships from Agnes Gund, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research & Rauschenberg. She is the author of Chlorine Sky (Penguin Random House), Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice, Woke Baby & Black Girl Magic (Macmillan), Kissing Caskets (Yes Yes Books) & Dear Twitter (Penmanship Books). She is also the founder of the Woke Baby Book Fair (a nationwide diversity literature campaign) & as an Arts for Justice grantee, is completing her first book of essays on mass incarceration, investigating its impact on women and children. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.