|By Kehinde Wiley|
an excerpt from An Ode to LibertyBy Sojourner Ahebee
I.I have a brother and he is brown
My mother tells her son that the world is his oyster
Lay claim to all around you, she begs
And he smiles and believes in dreams that can’t be scaled down.
As he gets older, like now, like 10 years old
My brother, who is brown, tall like the Sahara Desert on stilts,
Handsome like the Grand Canyon in a rainstorm
Has only the weapons of a violin and a painter’s brush
And a bedroom plastered with heroes to calm his fears of the things foretold.
Maybe not his fortune, doesn’t have to be
But the wails of a mother tied to the wails of another
Linking hundreds of death cries over lost sons,
Released in one year, cascading through one city
Can spook a little brown boy thinking about living.
I’ve been selected as a gold medal winner for poetry by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, representing the Midwest region where I attend school. Other notable past winners include Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Robert Redford and Joyce Carol Oates.http://www.artandwriting.org/awards/nationalwinners
The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) have partnered with the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists& Writers to create the National Student Poets Program, the country’s highest honor for youth poets whose original work exhibits exceptional creativity, dedication to craft and promise. Five outstanding high school poets will be selected annually for a year of service as literary ambassadors for poetry, encouraging a wide range of youth to explore and develop new creative capabilities.
National Student Poets will be chosen from among the national medalists in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards by a national panel of literary luminaries and leaders in education and the arts. Student Poets will receive academic awards and opportunities to present their work at writing and poetry events, and will be featured at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC, in cooperation with the Library of Congress. Awards will be presented in September 2012.I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
I also would like to promote my poem “Listen to Africa”, which has been published as a poster for sale by the Syracuse Cultural Workers. Here’s the link: http://syracuseculturalworkers.com/poster-listen-africa*Painting-Kehinde Wiley