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November 7, 2012

Growing up in America

Poets, discussion to focus on history, color and civics

The Gloucester Writers Center presents three celebrated poets, including Boston’s poet laureate, in an event next Wednesday that explores the connections between poetry and current issues that affect society.

The center organized an evening of poetry readings and reflection in a program titled “Let Nothing Slip By...,” which will be held at the Cultural Center of Rocky Neck in East Gloucester on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 7:30 p.m.

The Gloucester Writers Center, which has hosted 85 writers since it opened its door in the summer of 2010 and is sponsoring the event, seeks to present writers of all genres — poetry, fiction, nonfiction, experimental and more.

The three featured poets are Martha Collins, Afaa M. Weaver and Sam Cornish, all whom have achieved recognition for the connections they have made between poetry and the civic record. Some of the discussion will likely cover what it means to grow up white in American society and what it means to be a person of color in America, in particular times and places.

“Hearing the voices and experience of these three poets will cause us to reflect upon our history as well as the current situation,” said Dorothy Shubow Nelson, board member of the Gloucester Writers Center. “I find their work to be deeply moving, illuminating. I would even say that listening to these poets, and reflecting on their words, could result in heightened awareness and the healing of wounds. That could be the meaning of art.”

Nelson said another thread these poets share is their engagement with the community and the ability to confront difficult issues.

“They are not hesitant to grapple with history and difficult times in this country. They are extremely compassionate people and we are very fortunate to have them share their work with us,” said Nelson.

Collins is founder of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She will read from her latest book, “White Papers” (Pitt, 2012), described as “a captivating and disturbing series of poems about being white in a multiracial society.” Collins served as professor of creative writing at Oberlin College and is editor at large for Field Magazine.

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