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Sekou Sundiata Evening of Poetry & Spoken Word

Tuesday, April 21, 2009; 7:30 pm
MCLA Gallery 51 

**Exclusive housing sponsor: Blackinton Manor

Join us in the intimate setting of MCLA's Gallery 51 for our first annual evening of poetry and spoken word, dedicated to the life and work of the great poet Sekou Sundiata.

This evening will feature local poets and musicians, as well as the award winning poet and performer Carl Hancock Rux. Carl has performed his own work and that of others in the great opera houses of Europe and the U.S., including the clubs and enclaves of NYC. A poet, playwright, novelist, recording artist and essayist, Carl incorporates rhythms from rap, slam poetry and the oral traditions of slavery.

The evening also will feature film from Sekou's work, including his final work, the 51st (dream) state, which explores through music, poetry, images and dance what it means to be an American in the wake of 9/11.

Produced in association with MCLA's African, Latino, Asian and Native American Association (ALANA).


Carl Hancock RuxCarl Hancock Rux is a published poet, playwright, novelist, essayist and recording artist. He is the author of the collection of poetry, Pagan Operetta (Village Voice Literary Prize); the novel Asphalt and the OBIE Award winning play Talk, and head of the MFA Playwrights Program at California Institute of the Arts.

Following a rough-and-tumble childhood, Rux began his career at the famous Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York's East Village. Throughout the 1990s, Rux produced a stream of poetry, theater, dance, music and fiction with the energy -- and quality -- found in the top artists devoted to only one of those disciplines.


Sekou Sundiata Sekou Sundiata was internationally known as a poet who wrote for print, performance, music and theater, as an educator, and as an artist-activist. He was a Sundance Institute Screenwriting Fellow, a Columbia University Revson Fellow, a Master Artist-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (Florida), the first Writer-in-Residence at the New School University, and the recipient of a Lambent Fellowship in the Arts. He was featured in the Bill Moyers' PBS series on poetry, The Language of Life, and as part of Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam on HBO. Sundiata was a professor at Eugene Lang College in New York City.

Sundiata wrote and performed in the highly acclaimed performance theater works The Circle Unbroken is a Hard Bop, which toured nationally and received three AUDELCO Awards and a BESSIE Award.  He released two major recordings, the GRAMMY-nominated The Blue Oneness of Dreams (Mouth Almighty/Mercury), and its successor, longstoryshort (Righteous Babe Records). He toured internationally with his band; in 2001, they performed in 23 cities in the United States and Canada as part of Ani DiFranco's "Rhythm and News Tour."

the 51st (dream) state, which Sundiata described as his personal and poetic "State of the American Soul Address," premiered at Stanford Lively Arts in April 2006. Produced by MAPP, it was presented at more than a dozen renowned performing arts centers and festivals. Sundiata passed away in July 2007 before completing the scheduled tour of the 51st (dream) state. The cast, director and producers of this historic work decided to carry on Sundiata's voice and vision as long-time performer & collaborator La Tanya Hall stepped into his role for performances.




To buy tickets, call 413.662.5204.
To become a member and support this great work, call 413.662.5224.
For more information, call 413.664.8718.