Olio by Tyehimba Jess

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Thu, 11/17/2016 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
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Olio by Tyehimba Jess


In Olio Tyehimba Jess presents a musical history of the long fight against slavery, marshaling a vast cast of historical figures including the slaves, some freed, whose music was the basis for the blues and jazz in the 19th century. They ask, "Once burst loose from human bondage,/ do our songs still tow our pain like a mule?" In the process, Jess offers a subversive account of how black musicians have been exploited by whites from the get-go. —NPR Books        

"This 21st century hymnal of black evolutionary poetry, this almanac, this theatrical melange of miraculous meta-memory. Tyehimba Jess is inventive, prophetic, wondrous. He writes unflinchingly into the historical clefs of blackface, black sound, human sensibility. After the last poem is read we have no idea how long we’ve been on our knees."— poet Nikky Finney

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