WAMFEST 2012 Brings Internationally Acclaimed South African Poet to FDU

Madison, N.J. (April 2, 2012)—Fairleigh Dickinson University’s WAMFEST 2012 (The Words and Music Festival) presents South African Poet Laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile and celebrated Jimi Hendrix biographer and author, David Henderson, on Wednesday, April 18 at 3 p.m. in The Bottle Hill Room in the student center.  Kgositsile and Henderson will be in conversation with FDU professor and author Jeffrey Reynard Allen. This event is free and open to the public. 

Kgositsile is a South African poet and activist, and was an influential member of the African National Congress in the 1960s and 1970s. He received his status at Poet Laureate in Dec. 2006, and is only the second National Poet Laureate in South Africa. Kgositsile is one of the most significant poets in the Pan-African movement; he was also the founder of the Black Arts Theater in Harlem. 

His poetry collections include: My Name is Afrika, Heartprints, To the Bitter End, If I Could Sing, and This Way I Salute You. He has been the recipient of a number of literary awards including the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, the Harlem Cultural Council Poetry Award, the Conrad Kent Rivers Memorial Poetry Award, the Herman Charles Bosman Prize and others.

Henderson was a founder in the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s, and has been an active member of New York’s Lower East Side art community for more than four decades. He has published four volumes of poetry, and his work has appeared in numerous literary publications and anthologies. A Harlem native, the incredibly influential biographer and poet Henderson also has an ear for jazz and a gift for incorporating the style into his poetry.  Through decades performing, living in and developing the arts scene in the Lower East Side, Henderson has become famous for his melodic poetry, “lush voice” and captivating reading style. 

WAMFEST is an annual series hosted by FDU’s Becton College and the Creative Writing Program that brings successful artists of various genres to the Madison campus to inspire and inform students who hope to one day follow in these artists’ creative footsteps. WAMFEST is an ongoing celebration and exploration of the relationship between creative writing and the popular arts; it brings together artists from various fields for unique conversations, collaborations, and performances. Recent guests have included, among many others, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Pinsky, Rosanne Cash, Paul Muldoon, and Eugene Mirman. WAMFEST has recently been singled out for recognition of its groundbreaking programming by the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Other WAMFEST 2012 events for the week of April 16 feature author Michael Gray on “Bob Dylan & the Poetry of Blues” on April 17 at 5:30 p.m., and poet Quincy Troupe and hip-hop artist Talib Kweli on April 19 at 2 p.m. 

Admission to WAMFEST 2012 is free; however, due to space limitations, reservations are recommended. For more information, visit WAMFEST’s blog at http://wamfest.wordpress.com or contact David Daniel at ddaniel@fdu.edu. Fairleigh Dickinson University’s College at Florham is located at 285 Madison Avenue, Madison, N.J.

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