Lift Every Voice: register today for top-notch virtual poetry + dance Sept. 23, 6PM via O’Neal Library

Ashley M. Jones is the curator of "Life Every Voice"
Poet Ashley M. Jones. Photo via O’Neal Library

Whether you love poetry, dance or people the most, you don’t want to miss “Lift Every Voice: Poetry and Movement for this Moment.” This live virtual performance, brought to you by the O’Neal Library, takes place Wednesday, September 23 at 6PM. Register now to save your spot and keep reading to find out which poets and dancers are on the can’t-miss lineup.

Before COVID, collaborations between fantastic poets and world-class dancers. Now, it’s *such* a rare treat to find anything this evocative and gripping to enjoy—and from the comfort of your own home, too.

The Lineup

Lift Every Voice: Poetry and Movement for this Moment is a program on Wednesday, September 23, from 6-8PM via the O'Neal Library

The evening will feature award-winning poets Ashley Jones, Kwoya Fagin Maples and Brian Voice Porter Hawkins, accompanied by world-class dancers Germaul Barnes and Jamoriss Rivers.

The Poets

Each poet performs their own work in this hour-long performance piece in collaboration with the dancers.

Kwoya Fagin Maples

Kwoya Fagin Maples is one of the poets at Lift Every Voice
Poet Kwoya Fagin Maples. Photo via O’Neal Library

Hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, Kwoya Fagin Maples teaches creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA). She holds an MFA from the University of Alabama and is a Cave Canem Fellow.

Here are some of the places you’ll find her poetry:

  • A chapbook called Something of Yours
  • Blackbird
  • Berkeley Poetry Review
  • African American Review
  • pluck!
  • Obsidian

Ashley M. Jones

Ashley M. Jones is the curator of "Lift Every Voice"
Poet Ashley M. Jones is the curator of “Lift Every Voice.” Photo via Ashley M. Jones

Ashley M. Jones, who we’ve written about before, is a faculty member in the creative writing department of the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) and is the curator of “Lift Every Voice.”

She holds an MFA in Poetry from Florida International University.

Here are some of her accolades:

  • Magic City Gospel, her debut poetry collection, won the silver medal in poetry in the 2017 Independent Publishers Book Awards.
  • A winner of the 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award.

You’ll find her poems currently or soon in these publications:

  • Academy of American Poets
  • Tupelo Quarterly
  • Prelude
  • Steel Toe Review
  • Fjords Review
  • Quiet Lunch
  • Poets Respond to Race Anthology
  • The Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy

Brian Voice Porter Hawkins

Poet Brian Voice Porter Hawkins is one of the poets at Lift Every Voice
Poet Brian Voice Porter Hawkins at his favorite coffee shop. Photo via Sharron Swain for Bham Now

Brian Voice Porter Hawkins is the founder of Ensley Alive and The Color Project Ensley. Voice is the host of Bards & Brews at the Birmingham Public Library, and his poetry was recently featured by Starbucks.

The Dancers

Germaul Barnes

Germaul Barnes is one of the dancers at Lift Every Voice
Germaul Barnes moves in ways that make the rest of us say “wow.” Photo via Germaul Barnes

Germaul Barnes is a choreographer, director, master educator, scholar, and designer with a multifaceted career spanning more than thirty years in contemporary dance. Global in vision and influence, he is known for a bold, urgent, energetic movement style, steeped in spirituality and optimism. 

Jamorris Rivers

Jamorris Rivers is one of the dancers at Lift Every Voice
Jamorris Rivers doing what he does best. Photo by Christian Weymann Photography

Jamorris Rivers is Director and Choreographer for AROVA Contemporary Ballet. A native of Dadeville, AL, he trained with Lynn Curtis and Mandy Moore in Opelika, AL. He trained at the Alabama School of Fine Arts summer programs and Southern Union before graduating from The University of Alabama. 

Save your seat now

“Lift Every Voice: Poetry and Movement for this Moment” is made possible by a generous grant from the Library of America in an initiative to amplify and celebrate the voices of African-American poets, writers, and artists in American libraries.

Know you want to go? Save your seat now: Wednesday, September 23, 6PM via livestream.

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