On Wednesday, April 24, the Huntington Town Board will recognize teen poets from the community selected for participation in the Town’s Poetry for the HART Public Art Initiative. The event will begin at 7 p.m. at the Walt Whitman Birthplace (246 Old Walt Whitman Rd., West Hills).
The winning teen poets will receive certificates in an award ceremony with members of the Huntington Town Board. Immediately following conclusion of the award ceremony there will be a poetry reading led by adult poet mentor Mahogany L. Browne at which each of the teen poets selected for the program will read their winning poems. After the reading there will be a brief reception honoring the teen poets. The award ceremony, reading, and reception are free and open to the public.
Browne – a Fellow of The Poets House and Cave Canem – is the author of several books, including Swag and #Dear Twitter: Love Letters Hashed Out On-line. She has released five LPs including the live album Sheroshima. As co-founder of the Off Broadway poetry production, Jam On It, and co-producer of NYC’s 1st Performance Poetry Festival: SoundBites Poetry Festival, she bridges the gap between lyrical poets and literary emcee.
Browne has toured Germany, Amsterdam, England, Canada and recently Australia as one-third of the cultural arts exchange project “Global Poetics.” Her journalism work has been published in magazines Uptown, KING, XXL, The Source, Canada's The Word and UK's MOBO. Her poetry has been published in the literary journals Pluck, Literary Bohemian, Bestiary Brown Girl Love, Muzzle and Up The Staircase. She is an Urban Word NYC mentor, as seen on HBO’s Brave New Voices and facilitates performance poetry and writing workshops throughout the country. She is the publisher of Penmanship Books, a small press for performance artists and owns PoetCD.Com, an on-line marketing and distribution company for poets. She is also the Nuyorican Poets Café Poetry Program Director and curator of their famous Friday Night Slam.
Poetry for the HART is a Public Art Initiative project developed by the Town’s Public Art Advisory Committee in conjunction with Teenspeak, Co-Lead Agency, who suggested the project to the Town. Teens in the community from ages 14-18 were invited last fall to submit poems for consideration in the program. This spring a selection panel comprised of poets Robert J. Savino (West Islip), Paula Camacho (Farmingdale) and Gladys Henderson (Nesconset), as well as Public Art Advisory Committee member Deborah Robbins (Huntington Station), reviewed the 293 different submissions from 261 different teen poets and narrowed the choices to the winning poems.
Additional partners in this project included Heckscher Museum of Art; Huntington Arts Council; The Long Islander, which has pledged to publish the winning poems; REACH CYA; Town of Huntington Youth Bureau; Tri-Community Youth Agency; the award reception host – Walt Whitman Birthplace Association; and Youth Directions & Alternatives CYA, as well as numerous area teachers who actively encouraged their students’ participation.
Subsequent to the ceremonies, colorful placards, each bearing a winning poem, will be placed in the interior advertising spaces on buses throughout the HART system.
The names of the winning teen poets and text of their winning poems will be available following the April 24 event. For further information on Poetry for the HART or other Town of Huntington Public Art Initiative projects, contact John Coraor, Director of Cultural Affairs, at 631-351-3099 or via e-mail: jcoraor@HuntingtonNY.gov.