EventOctober 10, 2013

Slam Poet Roger Bonair-Agard to Talk about Artist Responsibility and American Ideology

Roger Bonair-Agard. | Photo: Jill Steinberg

On Thursday (Oct. 10), the Intercultural Arts Project (ICAP) presents two-time National Poetry Slam champion Roger Bonair-Agard who makes a presentation to the Institute titled, “Exclusivity of Space and the Artist’s Responsibility: A Look Into the Dismantling of the American Ideology at the Center of Racist Practice.”

Bonair-Agard was born in Trinidad and Tobago and migrated to the US in 1987 to study law, but attending a poetry reading in Brooklyn made him turn to writing verse. He has since published three books of poetry, which includes this year’s Bury My Clothes, a finalist for the National Book Award. He teaches poetry at the Cook Country Temporary Juvenile Detention Center in Chicago.

In a 2011 interview with NPR’s Tell Me More, Bonair-Agard was asked what he thinks is the purpose of poetry. He answers:

For me, it’s for survival. It is for a self-expression that I can’t access in any other way. I think other people come to it because in poetry, they find the expression of their day-to-day lives in a manner that either validates or exults, or makes sense of what they live and who they are. And it does that for me, too. For me, though, I continue to write it because I can’t not have that as a way of making sense of the world. I’d go crazy or die, at least, in some figurative way.

Below is a video of Bonair-Agard performing The All Black Penguin Speaks at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City.

Event Details

Roger Bonair-Agard: Exclusivity of Space and the Artist's Responsibility

A Look Into the Dismantling of the American Ideology at the Center of Racist Practice CalArts, Main Gallery Free Bonair-Agard is available to meet with students during two sessions earlier on Thursday. Please contact Patricia Gonzalez at gonzalez@calarts.edu to sign up for a meeting.

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