community | craft | excellence
We had a terrific evening this past weekend at Second Saturday at Tate Street Coffee House.
Cedric Tillman holds a BA in English from UNC Charlotte and graduated from American University’s Creative Writing MFA program. He is a Cave Canem fellow and a former Boston Review “Discovery” contest semifinalist. Cedric’s poems appear in several publications including Crosscut, Folio, Kakalak, The Chemistry of Color, and Home Is Where: An Anthology of African American Poets From the Carolinas, edited by Kwame Dawes. His debut collection, entitled Lilies in the Valley, was a semifinalist selection for the 2011 42 Miles Press Poetry Award, and was published by Willow Books in 2013. He is the inaugural winner of the Willow Books Emerging Poets & Writers Award, and makes his home in Charlotte.
Bianca Diaz is the author of No One Says Kin Anymore, winner of the Robert Watson Poetry Award, published by Spring Garden Press in 2009. Her work has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for the Best of the Net Anthology. Recent poems appear in San Pedro River Review, One (Jacar Press), Lindenwood Review, Mount Hope, Border Crossing, Naugatuck River Review, and Redheaded Stepchild. She earned an MFA from George Mason University and is originally from Miami, FL. She now lives in Durham, North Carolina where she teaches high school English. You can catch Bianca reading at the West End Poetry Festival in Carrboro this weekend, October 16-17.
The news from the last couple of weeks has been harrowing, with campus shootings across the country, from Oregon to Arizona to Texas to Kentucky. Our reading series takes place on the beautiful campus of UNC-Greensboro.
Poetry has a way of returning us back to ourselves, and that’s just what the evening did. Bianca’s poems were smooth and crisp, well-crafted and precise. Cedric’s reading was moving and powerful, including pieces of hymns, prayers, and a knockout poem for Trayvon Martin. Evenings like these draw us all together in shared community.
I believe that radical compassion is what it’s going to take to save us. We must listen to each other, and then be moved to act on behalf of one another.
We thank our friends at Tate Street Coffee House who host us every month, and I am reminded that we should all be mindful of supporting small businesses, especially with the holidays around the corner. Remember local businesses, independent bookstores and indie publishers and authors. When you spend in the community it benefits the community.
In love and writing,