Books

Miami,– Miami Dade College’s (MDC) acclaimed Miami Book Fair launches Speak Up, a teen poetry and performance program supporting the artistic, personal, and professional growth of high school students through poetry and spoken word performance at MDC’s Koubek Center, beginning Sept. 25, on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 6 p.m.  Registration for this free workshop is open until Sept. 20. Space is limited – sign up today!

From September 15 to October 15, the U.S. observes National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrating Hispanic and Latinx Americans' heritage and culture and recognizing their contributions to the United States. Here are some wonderful children's titles written and/or illustrated by Hispanic or Latinx Americans to start the celebration a little early.

Jamaican-born actress, playwright, poet, Jozanne Marie, lived with a secret from she was 6 years old, a secret that brought with it fear and shame. It wasn’t until decades later, when she gathered the courage to break her silence, that she found the path to healing. Marie’s autobiography, Beautiful: Unashamed and Unafraid, chronicles her turbulent yet inspiring journey through love, fear, shame, rape, and forgiveness. 

The half-century anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots this year drew much fanfare to the significance of that historical moment. It's undeniably encouraging to see the strides made since and, perhaps counterintuitively, continues to pique my curiosity for what came beforehand.

“My first day on the job was Monday May 11, 1981, 10:00 AM. At quarter to twelve the phone rang. It was Rita Marley and she wanted to talk to Don. So, Don gets on the phone, then he flashes out the door. And as he is going out the door he turns around and says, if anybody calls you don’t know anything. I knew right then that Bob was gone. He died that day in Miami”, says M Peggy Quattro.

Poetry can be a finger-beckoning-in invitation. It can be a fist, rising in solidarity. It can supersede the page, subverting genre, form and even power itself. Claudia Rankine--MacArthur Fellow, finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf, $20)--has long been celebrated for her powerful and subversive verse. Fans would do well to pick up her early Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric(Graywolf, $16), a potent, unforgettable exploration of violence, death, entertainment and living in her own body, and her own skin, in her own time.

I've just returned from the hypnotic pilgrimage that is Kathryn Davis's gorgeous novel The Silk Road (Graywolf), where the bardo somehow intersects with the Camino de Santiago: "Like the place in the dream where you always get lost, a well-traveled, well-known road shaking you loose into fear and confusion, propelling you toward that house just around the bend but there is no toward, there is no house, there is no bend."

Join us this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, for a showing of Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, the riveting documentary about the Nobel prize winning author by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

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