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Thank you ... and best wishes for the new year.
Islands Number Four
Agnes Martin, Islands Number Four,
Repeated ovals on a grid, what appears
To be perfect is handmade, disturbed.
Tobacco brown saturates canvas to burlap,
Clean form from a distance, up close, her hand.
All wrack and bramble to oval and grid.
Hollows in the body, containers for grief.
What looks to be perfect is not perfect.
Odd oval portholes that flood with light.
Description of a Slave Ship, 1789:
Same imperfect ovals, calligraphic hand.
At a distance, pattern. Up close, bodies
Doubled and doubled, serried and stacked
In the manner of galleries in a church,
In full ships on their sides or on each other.
Isle of woe, two-by-two, spoon-fashion,
Not unfrequently found dead in the morning.
Slave-ships, the not-pure, imperfect ovals,
Portholes through which they would never see home,
The flesh rubbed off their shoulders, elbows, hips.
Barracoon, sarcophagus, indestructible grief
Nesting in the hollows of the abdomen.
The slave-ship empty, its cargo landed
And sold for twelve ounces of gold a-piece
Or gone overboard. Islands. Aftermath.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the pioneering gospel musician and instrumentalist, finally has a gravestone marking her resting place at Northwood Cemetery in Philadelphia. Since her passing in 1973, the gravesite of Sister Rosetta had been a barren plot lacking any memorial. Today, a beautiful, rose-colored monument bears respect to one of America’s most influential artists of the 20th Century.
Sister Rosetta’s monument was partially funded by a benefit concert at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA on January 11, 2008, that featured performances by gospel and spiritual music legends—The Dixie Hummingbirds, Odetta, Marie Knight, Willa Ward, The Johnny Thompson Singers, and The Huff Singers. Additional financial contributions were provided by Philadelphia’s Rhythm & Blues Foundation, and the Blues Foundation in Memphis ...
The inscription on the gravestone is from the eulogy by Roxie Moore (living in Baltimore), and the stone was produced by Wertheimer-Liberty Monuments of Southampton, PA. The text reads:
ROSETTA ATKINS THARPE MORRISON
March 20, 1915 – October 9, 1973
Gospel Music Legend
SHE WOULD SING UNTIL YOU CRIED, AND THEN
SHE WOULD SING UNTIL YOU DANCED FOR JOY
SHE HELPED TO KEEP THE CHURCH ALIVE
AND THE SAINTS REJOICING
In January, James Arthur Miller, chair of GW’s Department of American Studies and professor of English and American studies, will leave for University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he will collaborate with a colleague on a course on black Atlantic literature. Dr. Miller explains the subject involves exploring the ways black writers and “expressive culture,” such as film, music, and the visual arts, and its themes have traveled around the world.
“I anticipate that my research and teaching at the University of Witwatersrand will lead me in new directions when I return to GW, and it will certainly shape my current work,” says Dr. Miller.
Conversation and Reception with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Edward P. Jones
Wednesday, February 18 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Alumni House @ 1918 F Street, NW
Please join Edward P. Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and spring 2009 Wang Visiting Professor in Contemporary English Literature, and four renowned GW professors, for a lively conversation about The Known World by Edward P. Jones.
Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2004, this beautiful and heartbreaking novel follows the complicated history that unfolds around a Virginia plantation, owned by a former slave who has purchased slaves of his own. A meditation upon racism, humanity, memory, and the power of art, The Known World is a fantastic book.
Faculty members from the Departments of English, American Studies, Political Science and History examine what their disciplines have to say to Edward P. Jones's work. Mr. Jones himself will respond, then join in the free-ranging discussion. A book signing and reception will follow.
The cost of this program starts at $8 and includes the conversation and reception. Advance registration is required and space is limited.
Tyler Anbinder is Chair and Professor of History. Professor Tyler is an expert on the American Civil War and its legacy.
Elisabeth Anker is Assistant Professor of American Studies. Professor Anker's research interests focus on the connections between American politics, philosophy and culture.
Jennifer James is an Associate Professor of English. Professor James teaches African American literature and has written about 19th century African American literature of slavery and the Civil War.
Edward P. Jones is a Pulitzer Prize winning author and the spring 2009 Wang Visiting Professor in Contemporary English Literature.
Forrest Maltzman is Chair and Professor of Political Science. Professor Maltzman studies legislative and judicial decision-making.Sponsored by the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and the GW Alumni Association