This Week is Lit

We’ve been using this space to highlight new events, from unique readings, to panels, to podcasts. This week, we’re again bringing you something a bit different and calling your attention to a panel discussion hosted by Preservation Long Island. At first glance this panel of historians may seem out of place in a literary roundup, but their focus is the first virtual roundtable for the Jupiter Hammon Project, Long Island in the Black Atlantic. The panel, consisting of Dr. Craig Wilder, Dr. Jennifer L. Anderson, and Dr. Nicole Maskiell, and moderated by Cordell Reeves, will explore what life was like for enslaved and free communities on Long Island during the time of Jupiter Hammon.

Jupiter Hammon is widely recognized as the first Black writer to have his own work published in North America when his "An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ, with Penitential Cries" was published as a broadside in 1761.

For the last 35 years, our host university, SUNY Plattsburgh, has celebrated Black Poetry Day on October 17th in recognition of Hammon’s birthday. Black Poetry Day is an event created by Stan Ransom, the former director of our local Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System. When Stan worked as a librarian in Huntington, NY, he learned of Hammon’s poetry and subsequently published books about Hammon and his writings. Even though Black Poetry Day is not yet a nationally recognized day, Stan has been successful in advocating for this day of recognition. Now, many other universities and schools host celebratory readings and panels on Hammon's birthday.

To join this event and hear more about Hammon and Long Island during the eighteenth century, click here to register for the event to be held on Saturday, August 15 at 10am.


More Readings and Virtual Events

August 9, 7pm EDT, Poets in Pajamas
This week’s Poets in Pajamas series guest is Fullamusu Bangura whose work has been published in Memoir Mixtapes, Peach Mag, and Apogee. Join the series here on Facebook.

August 11, 6:30pm CDT, Virtual Book Celebration
Join Aricka Foreman for the celebration and launch of her new book of poetry Salt Body Shimmer published by YesYes Books. She’ll be joined by special guests Maya Marshall, Airea D. Matthews, Natasha Oladokun, Ladan Osman, and Alison C. Rollins. You can get Zoom info from Aricka by emailing her at

August 11, 7:00pm EDT, Virtual Events with Harvard Bookstore
It’s not every day that we’re treated to new work by writer Aimee Bender. Celebrate her new novel, The Butterfly Lampshade, as she’s joined in conversation with Kelly Luce. Click here for the details.

August 13, 7:00pm EDT, Reader Meet Writer by the Oxford Exchange
This week, Imani Perry is in conversation with Sarah Broom, author of the National Book Award winning The Yellow House. To join this conversation, follow this link.