THE 10th ANNIVERARY SEASON OF THE AQUINAS COLLEGE CONTEMPORARY WRITERS SERIES OPENS A RETURN VISIT BY KURTIS LAMKIN, POET AND MUSICIAN
August 31, 2006 - In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Aquinas College Contemporary Writers Series, four poets from other seasons will return to campus. The series begins with Kurtis Lamkin, poet and musician, on Thursday, September 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Aquinas Wege Student Center Ballroom. Lamkin accompanies his poems on the kora, a twenty-one stringed West African harp-lute used by Djelis (griots, troubadours). Lamkin says, "The kora talks, for real. That's why when Africans were brought here all African instruments were banned from the United States – because they could talk." His first performance at Aquinas was during the 2003-2004 season. This event is free and the public is welcome.
Lamkin's latest CD, "Queen of Carolina," features kora-poems that focus upon work and growth primarily in the South. His previous recording "El Shabazz" is a collection of kora-poems dedicated to Malcolm X and the Million Man March. He also composed the lyrics and music for the dance concert, "Physic Lover," which premiered at the Victoria 5 Theater in Harlem.
He has performed his poems internationally, most recently at the Gullah Festival in South Carolina, the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival in Waterloo, New Jersey, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon and at the Skagit River Poetry Festival and Bumbershoot Festival in Washington.
His work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines including "Crazy Horse," "Illuminations" and "Paterson Literary Journal." His book "King of the Real World" was published in 1985. He has appeared on numerous television and radio shows including National Public Radio and Bill Moyer's "Fooling around with Words." Lamkin was on the faculty of the New School University for six years and was a writer in residence at The National Book Foundation Summer Writing Camp 2003. Currently he is working on a new kora-poem entitled "The Yam Seller," and a handbook for oral poetry called "Live Poem: Composition, Performance and Improvisation."
The other poets/writers returning this season are Li-Young Lee, Tuesday, November 7; Linda Pasten, Tuesday, March 20; and Marilyn Nelson, Thursday, April 12. Nelson did the opening reading when the Series began in 1997-1998 and Lee also came to Aquinas during the first season of the Series.