Photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths.
Afaa Michael Weaver
Winter/Spring 2017 Lamont Poet
Reading at Assembly Hall
February 15th, 7:30-8:30pm
Poet Afaa Michael Weaver has received numerous fellowships and awards, including a National Endowment of the Arts Literature Fellowship, a Pew Fellowship, a 2002 Fulbright Scholar appointment to Taiwan, and is a three-time Pushcart prize winner. Weaver’s early poetry was influenced by the Black Arts Movement and the poetry of Lucille Clifton, a 1987 Lamont Poet. His first collection of poetry, Water Song (1985), was ten years in the making. Since Water Song, Weaver has published several additional collections of poetry, including City of Eternal Spring (2014), winner of the Phillis Wheatley Book Award for Poetry; The Government of Nature (2013), for which he received the Kingsley Tufts Award; The Plum Flower Dance: Poems 1985 to 2005 (2007); Multitudes (2000); and The Ten Lights of God (2000). His full-length play Rosa was produced in 1993 at Venture Theater in Philadelphia. His short fiction appears in multiple anthologies, including Children of the Night: The Best Short Stories by Black Writers, 1967 to the Present (1997).
Weaver's teaching career includes appointments at Essex County College, Seton Hall Law School, CUNY, NYU, and Rutgers University. He was a member of Cave Canem’s first faculty and in 1998 became the first “Elder” of the Cave Canem organization. Weaver is currently the Simmons College Alumnae Professor of English and on the faculty of Drew University’s MFA program.
The Lamont Fund, established in 1982 by Corliss Lamont, Class of 1920, and Jacquelyn Thomas, former Academy Librarian, supports the Academy Library's Lamont Poetry Series. Two poets are invited each year to give readings of their poetry and to attend English classes.
The first Lamont Poet, on April 27, 1983, was Jorge Luis Borges. He has been followed by more than 50 others, ranging from Denise Levertov and Seamus Heaney to Yusef Komunyakaa and C.K. Williams.
Each visiting poet is photographed and asked to present the library with a manuscript poem. These are then framed and hung in the Special Collections department on the fourth floor of the library. A selection of portraits and manuscripts can also be viewed in the Lamont Poets online exhibit.