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PLU Open Mic featuring The Other Black Girl Collective & Danez Smith

PLU Open Mic featuring The Other Black Girl Collective & Danez Smith

PLU’s open mic on July 21 rocked its socks off, thanks to our buzzing brilliant crowd and finger-clicking good featured performers The Other Black Girl Collective and Danez Smith!

As tradition has recently had it, your host asked/demanded that PLU Secretary General Ed be the first sacrifice to the stage. Virgin Kemi was an absolute pro with her jazz-inspired poetry, James was the first of many a musician to our stage that night, followed by the smallest guitar your host has ever – no it wasn’t a ukulele – wielded by Hannaka. Helen, one of the editors of the PLU magazine, cooked up a storm in prison, and Katie from Australia sang us through sunset. Colin needs a light for his window, Alice introduced us to some Miss Marple poetry, and Shannon exposed her mark of Cain. Danez Smith came on as a warm up (a scorching one) to Angel and Morgan’s The Other Black Girl Collective and all three treated us to some top quality performance poetry, with Angel and Morgan performing in dialogue form. It felt, to the audience, as if we were participating in a conversation that flowed, rose and smashed down, punctuated only by a brief pause to top up our beers, smoke a cigarette and a hop back on the boat.

Amel also joined us in round two with “I will follow you”, followed by more Danez, some stellar Sella, Virgin Carlo’s Yoko Ono tweets (a highly recommended follow) and Jordan’s Petr Pavlensky. Virgin Bernard was our Frenchman of the evening, and James returned to salut the evening’s end, but the night’s beginning…



The PLU Open Mic on July 21 is opening its arms and pricking up its ears for featured performers The Other Black Girl Collective and Danez Smith currently on tour in Europe. Sign-up for the open mic starts at 8, have a drink in hand and a seat ready for kick off at 8.30/45.

The Other Black Girl Collective is a Brooklyn-­based black feminist poetry duo comprised of nationally acclaimed and award winning authors Angel Nafis and Morgan Parker. Despite popular belief, we are not actually the same person. We aim to celebrate black female expression and sisterhood, honor and highlight the multiplicity of the black female experience, and push against tropes and stereotypes that smother and limit us, from Foxy Brown to Olivia Pope. Our work, deeply personal and individual, explores 21st century black American womanhood and its complexities: performance, depression, isolation, exoticism, racism, pop culture, femininity, family and politics. With energy, brutal honesty, dark humor, anger and pride, we aim to create a new Black Girl mythology one centered around possibility and freedom. Queer and straight, hailing from the suburban west and the urban Midwest, we revel in and cherish our incongruity as much as our sameness. Each of us has a rich and sustained writing career, yet we feel the urgent and immediate need to build a professional coalition. We want to be called by our names.

Danez Smith is the author of [insert] boy (2014, YesYes Books), winner of the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry and finalist for the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. His second collection, Don’t Call Us Dead, will be published by Graywolf Press in 2017. He is also the author of two chapbooks, hands on ya knees and black movie, winner of the Button Poetry Prize. His work has been published and featured widely including in Poetry Magazine, Beloit Poetry Journal, Buzzfeed, Blavity, and Ploughshares. He is a 2014 Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellow, a Cave Canem and VONA alum, and a recipient of a McKnight Foundation Fellowship. He is a two-time Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, placing second in 2014. He edits for The Offing and is a founding member of two collectives, Dark Noise and Sad Boy Supper Club. He lives in the midwest most of the time.

Danez was featured in American Academy of Poet’s Emerging Writers Series by National Book Award Finalist, Patricia Smith. Like her, he bridges the poetics of the stage to that of the page. Danez’s work transcends arbitrary boundaries to present work that is gripping, dismantling of oppression constructs, and striking on the human heart. Often centered around intersections of race, class, sexuality, faith, and social justice, Danez uses rhythm, fierce raw power, and image to re-imagine the world as he takes it apart in his work.

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