Well-known writers to read for Black History Month

February 2, 2007
By

DOROTHY DERIFIELD

In honor of Black History Month, Chapter and Verse will present a special program on Wed., Feb. 7 at the Loring-Greenough House, featuring readings by three writers—Charles Coe, Danielle Georges and Clara Silverstein—each of whom offers a unique voice and perspective.

Coe, a well-known Boston-area poet, is a coordinator for the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Organizational Support Program and a previous winner of a Massachusetts artist fellowship in poetry. As a poet, Coe says he is most interested in telling stories. “They can be about interactions with people, or what I’ve observed about them,” he says. “I also write about my own feelings and experiences. I try to write poems that people who don’t necessarily read a lot of poetry can connect with.”

Before shifting his focus to poetry, Coe was a singer/songwriter, and he tries to find “the music of the language” and to communicate with the audience when he reads. He also enjoys teaching poetry workshops with children, especially those of middle school age who, he said he feels, are most open to the experience.

Coe has published a book of poetry, “Picnic On The Moon,” and has been anthologized often in both written and spoken form, including the CD “One Side of the River,” a collection of Cambridge and Somerville poets.

Author, journalist and poet Clara Silverstein attended the newly integrated schools of Richmond, Va. while growing up. “White Girl: A Story of School Desegregation” (University of Georgia, 2004) is an unflinchingly honest chronicle of her experiences—one of the first narratives about school desegregation from the perspective of a white child. BookForum described “White Girl” as a “skilled, moving account” of “a brave young soldier fighting an adult war.”

Silverstein, who has been a journalist for 20 years, was formerly a food writer and editor at the Boston Herald. Her next two books promise nourishment for body as well as spirit. “The New England Soup Factory Cookbook” and a collection of recipes from Boston chefs will both appear in this fall. As a poet, she has been widely published, and she organizes creative writing workshops as program director of the summer Writers’ Center at Chautauqua, N.Y.

Originally from Haiti, Danielle Georges is a writer and translator with a beautiful collection of poetry called “Maroon,” which reflects her Haitian-American experience.

In a Boston Globe article published in 2005, Georges talked about a visit to Haiti and the source of her inspiration. “Port-au-Prince has the bustling and chaotic qualities typical of a lot of cities… You see the market women, charcoal sellers all in black, and weaving through traffic the bourettier or bouretye, the ‘spider-cart’ hauler—a man on foot who works hauling loads and who serves as the engine to his cart.”

In the article, Ellen Steinbaum said Georges’s poem “Attached” typifies many of her favorite poems by being “both deeply powerful and deceptively small.”

Georges is an assistant professor in the creative arts in learning division of Lesley University’s Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences. She has taught poetry many other places as well.

The historic Loring-Greenough House, where the Chapter and Verse program will take place Feb. 7, is located at 12 South Street, just across from the Monument in JP Center. The program is free, and refreshments will be served. For more information, e-mail dorothy.derifield@gmail.com or wileysister@yahoo.com or call 325-8388.

The writer is the organizer of Chapter and Verse.

Best of JP 2014