Smile Politely

Campus poetry reading will feature Urbana’s Poet Laureate and a National Book Award finalist

Two photo collage: Left- Ja Nelle Davenport-Pleasure, a young black woman with braids wearing a jean jacket; right- Roger Reeves, a young black man
Photos courtesy of the poets

Urbana Poet Laureate Ja Nelle Davenport-Pleasure and National Book Award Finalist Roger Reeves will be doing a poetry reading at the University of Illinois September 26th.

Davenport-Pleasure is the author of three books of poetry: Eyes OpenSplitting 650 and Breathe. She is a member of the Galaxy of Poets group, “an initiative which works to bring awareness and support to mental health through the art of poetry.” Davenport-Pleasure currently works for U of I as an IT specialist, and has performed her poetry throughout Champaign-Urbana, including at PYGMALION, SPEAK Café, Iron Post, and elsewhere.

Reeves has published two poetry collections: King Me (2013) and Best Barbarian (2022). Best Barbarian received numerous awards, including the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and Griffin Poetry Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN/Voelcker Award, and the NAACP Image Award. He recently published an essay collection entitled Dark Days: Fugitive Essays. Reeves is also an associate professor of English and creative writing at the University of Texas.

Poetry Reading
Lincoln Hall Theater
702 S Wright St
Sept 26
Tu 5:15 p.m.

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