Black Matter is Life: Poetry for Engagement and Overcoming

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Date(s) - December 15, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

3S Artspace


The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire (BHTNH) presents the second in the series “The Black Matter is Life” of poetry events. The program also will be live-streamed.  Registration is open now and is required. 

Based on the theme, “The Race for STEM,” the four poems to be discussed on December 15, include Arachis by Marilyn Nelson, Horror Movie Pitch by Eve Ewing, Whitey on the Moon by Gil-Scott Heron, and Yes! Strike again that Sounding String, by James Monroe Whitfield.  Participants will be provided with the poems and a study guide before the event.

Guest poet Kyle Flemings will join the conversation with facilitators Reginald Wilburn, Associate Professor of African American Literature at the University of New Hampshire and Courtney Marshall, English Professor at Phillips Exeter Academy.  Kyle Flemings is a writer and educator at Dayton Early College Academy specializing in creative writing and creative writing pedagogy.  He started a spoken word collective called “Underdog Academy” that performs spoken word examining political and racially charged issues across the United States.  Flemings also manages a 13-artist collective in Dayton called “Warriors of Rhetorical Discourse” or ‘the W.O.R.D.”

Each program begins with a reading of an original poem by a local student whose poem was entered in a contest sponsored by the Racial Unity Team and exhibited at the Portsmouth Public Library.  Students were asked to write a poem inspired by a line from Amanda Gorman’s Inaugural Poem, “The Hill We Climb.”  This month, Hannah Rubin, a student at Phillips Exeter Academy, will open the program by reading her poem, We Prayed with Our Feet.

“The Black Matter is Life” programs examine the work of both well-known and little-known Black poets to explore and discuss the rich tradition of African American poetry.  The audience is asked to consider how the perspectives of the poets’ work shed light on race and contemporary events.  Through poetry—an artform that requires close reading, question asking, and critical engagement to construct meaning—participants are encouraged to think and ask questions about the diversity of ways African American poets have represented Black experience and what it means to be Black.  A third program will be offered on January 20, 2022.

Those who attend the program in person on December 15, will be able to see two exhibitions now on view at 3S Artspace:  A Quiet Reach, works by Daniel Minter and Vision and Visibility, a group exhibit of works by emerging BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) artists from New England. The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire is proud to partner with 3S Artspace to share this work with the public in an effort to make visible the talents of contemporary BIPOC poets and artists. “Poetry and art are platforms that make their presence known in the community,” said JerriAnne Boggis, Executive Director of the BHTNH.

To learn more about this and other exciting upcoming programs and exhibitions,  go to or or call 603-570-8469.

For information about health and safety guidelines during your visit to 3S Artspace, go to

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