Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997
NAC, Alan and Roula Rossy Pavilion1 Elgin St.
7:30pm

Towards a New World: Poetry and Change 50 Years after the Congress of Black Writers

with David Austin

Towards a New World: Poetry and Change 50 Years after the Congress of Black Writers

with David Austin
22
Tuesday
Jan
7:30pm
NAC, Alan and Roula Rossy Pavilion
1 Elgin St.
David Austin
Join CBC’s Adrian Harewood for a conversation with David Austin, the author of  Moving Against the System: The 1968 Congress of Black Writers and the Shaping of Global Black Consciousness and  Dread Poetry and Freedom: Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Unfinished Revolution .
 
Moving Against the System: The 1968 Congress of Black Writers and the Shaping of Global Black Consciousness:
In 1968, as protests shook France and war raged in Vietnam, the giants of black radical politics descended on Montreal to discuss the unique challenges and struggles facing their black comrades all over the world. Against a backdrop of widespread racism in the West and ongoing colonialism and imperialism in the Global South, this group of activists, writers, and political figures gathered to discuss the history and struggles of people of African descent and the meaning of black power.

For the first time since 1968, David Austin brings alive the speeches and debates of the most important international gathering of black radicals of the era. With never-before-seen texts from Stokely Carmichael, Walter Rodney, and C. L. R. James, these documents will prove invaluable to anyone interested in black radical thought and political activism of the 1960s.
 
Dread Poetry and Freedom: Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Unfinished Revolution:

In the 1970s and ’80s, Linton Kwesi Johnson was fighting neo-fascism and promoting socialism, and putting pen to paper to refute W. H. Auden’s claim that “poetry makes nothing happen.”  Dread Poetry and Freedom  explores Johnson’s work through the radical political and poetic traditions he engaged, reflecting poetry’s potential to bring about social transformation.


Through an examination of the violence, musicality, and revolution of his poetry, David Austin brings Johnson’s cultural and philosophical influences alive. Encompassing reggae music, the Bible, Rastafari, and surrealism, socialism, and feminism, as well as the radical politics of Aimé Césaire, John La Rose, Frantz Fanon, C. L. R. James, and W. E. B. Du Bois, Johnson’s poetry reveals itself as an important site of diaspora politics and struggle.

Probing the juncture at which Johnson’s poetry meets his politics,  Dread Poetry and Freedom  shows the significant role art can play in bringing about social change in times of dread.
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