Philadelphia Poet Laureate and vocalist Yolanda Wisherand poet/horn player Dick Lourie come together with poets Quincy Scott Jones, Iréne Mathieu, and Trapeta Mayson for an evening of poetry, blues, and jazz in remembrance of Black Opals, a 1920s literary magazine produced by black writers in Philadelphia.
Musician, poet, and editor Dick Lourie grew up listening to and playing traditional American folk music. After taking up the saxophone in his 40s, he has concentrated on blues and other roots music. He is the author of the poetry collections Calls on the Dream Telephone, Stumbling, Anima, Ghost Radio, and If the Delta Was the Sea. He has also released two CDs based on the poems in his books —combining his sax playing and spoken word with a blues band—titled Ghost Radio Blues and If the Delta Was the Sea. His poem “Forgiving Our Fathers” was featured in the movie Smoke Signals. A cofounder and still coeditor/publisher at Hanging Loose magazine and press, this year celebrating its ﬁftieth anniversary, Lourie has edited more than 100 titles for the press. He was one of the founders of the New York State Poets in the Schools Program.
Yolanda Wisher is the 2016-2017 Poet Laureate of the City of Philadelphia. Wisher is the author of Monk Eats an Afroand the co-editor of Peace is a Haiku Song. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Fence, Chain, MELUS, and GOODMagazine and the anthologies Gathering Ground and The Ringing Ear. Wisher is a 2016 Hedgebrook Writer-in-Residence, 2015 Pew Fellow, Center for Performance and Civic Practice Catalyst Initiative grantee, Leeway Art &Change Award recipient, and the inaugural Montgomery County Pennsylvania Poet Laureate. Wisher founded and directed the Germantown Poetry Festival and served as Director of Art Education for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. She currently works as Chief Rhapsodist of Wherewithal for the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture.
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