The Public Honors College

SMCM Newsroom

A Reading of Protest Poetry


March 17, 2009
Press Release #12-017

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(St. Mary’s City, MD) February 2, 2012—Jeffrey Coleman, associate English professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, will read from his just-published anthology, “Words of Protest, Words of Freedom,” the first comprehensive collection of poems inspired by the American civil rights era, at 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, in Daugherty-Palmer Commons. Refreshments will be served following the public reading, part of the college’s annual VOICES Reading Series.

Coleman also will read from his book, “Spirits Distilled,” and from an in-progress collection of  poems tentatively titled, “Peace, Love & Soul.”

“I became interested in the relationship between poetry and the civil rights movement as a graduate student,” Coleman said. When he could find no collection of these writings, he embarked on a 20-year voyage to bring them together. “For reasons unknown, the movement had not produced a collective poetic voice or record, a single stanza-filled volume intended to cut across lines of race, class, and gender for the purpose of documenting the goals and challenges of the movement,” said Coleman. These poems, he said, “are arguably among the most ‘American’ poems of the century. They provide a glimpse of Americans at their worst and at their transcendent best.”