Roscoe “Ros” Crenshaw, Jaye P. Willis, Charlois Lumpkin and Darlene Roy

 “Black Lives Matter” poets/panelists at a gathering in East St. Louis: Roscoe “Ros” Crenshaw, Jaye P. Willis, Charlois Lumpkin and Darlene Roy.

A panel of four bi-state authors will discuss and perform “Black Lives Matter” on Tuesday, February 16, at 2 p.m. in the Eugene B. Redmond Learning Center of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's Elijah P. Lovejoy Library.

The free public panel is one of many in a year-long series of events set to commemorate the 30th birthday of the EBR Writers Club. Maya Angelou (1928-2014) and Amiri Baraka (1934-2014) were trustee of the group, founded in East St. Louis in 1986.

Panelists will include poet-photographer Roscoe “Ros” Crenshaw, poet-playwright Charlois Lumpkin (who write sunder the name Mali Newman), poet-editor Darlene Roy (moderator), and poet-essayist Jaye P. Willis, all members of the Writers Club and contributors to Drumvoices Revue. For 17 years, Drumvoices was co-published by the club and SIUE's English Department. Redmond, namesake of the 30-year-old group, will introduce the panel.

During twice-monthly meetings, club members discuss and critique new writings and explore cultural/social backgrounds to literature. And at various other gatherings and performances, they continue refining their formidable cultural, analytical and literary skills – all of which they will bring to the February 16 panel discussion.

The “Black Lives Matter” movement, born in wake of the Trayvon Martin killing in Sanford, Florida, gained momentum after a rash of police-killings of other blacks in cities like New York, Ferguson, Baltimore, and Chicago. However, as panelists will demonstrate, the killings and subsequent movements have deep historical precedents and profound implications for present and future thinking (and action), especially regarding race, police-community relations, politics, health, education and the arts.

The “kwansaba,” a poetic form invented by Redmond in 1995 (with help from fellow writers), will be used to illustrate the importance of verse – and literature generally – in creatively capturing, understanding, averting/redirecting, and possibly treating social stress and violence.

A widely published poet, Redmond is an SIUE emeritus professor of English and has been poet laureate of East St. Louis since 1976.

For information, call 618-650-3991 (or 618-650-5710 between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm weekdays); email eredmon@siue.edu; or write c/o EBR Writers Club at P.O. Box 6165, ESL, IL 62201.

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