EBR Writers Club Honoring Past Women Trustrees: Weathers, Walker Alexander, Angelou, Brooks, and Teer
East St. Louis, IL--Dr. Lena Jane Weathers (1930-2017), who was a lifelong resident of East St. Louis and an invaluable leader and patron of the community, will be honored along with four more late women trustees of the Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
The free event, held in honor of Women's History Month 2017, will take place 6 PM in Room 2083 of Building “B” on the East St. Louis Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (ESL SIUE) Higher Education Campus, 601 J.R. Thompson Drive 62201.
Other trustee-honorees are poet-novelist-scholar Margaret Walker Alexander (1915-1998); poet-autobiographer-actress-filmmaker Maya Angelou (1928-2014); Pulitzer Prize-winning former Illinois Poet Laureate and novelist Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000); and ESL native daughter Barbara Ann Teer (1937-2008), founder of the National Black Theatre of Harlem.
June 17, 2017 will mark the centennial of the birth of Brooks. She and Walker Alexander, whose centennial was observed in 2015, are often associated with the Harlem Renaissance.
EBR Writers Club History
Founded in 1986, the Writers Club turned 30 in 2016. Writer Henry Lee Dumas (a.k.a. Henry Dumas, 1934-1968), for whom Eugene B. Redmond has served as literary executor for the past 48 years, is the Club's patron saint.
Members of its Soular Systems Ensemble—Roscoe “Ros” Crenshaw, Salim Kenyatta, Charlois Lumpkin (Mali Newman), Darlene Roy (Club prez), and Jaye Willis—will perform “kwansabas” in honor of the trustees. The program will also feature special guests and an art/photo exhibit.
Current Club trustees include: Avery Brooks, Haki R. Madhubuti, Walter Mosley, Quincy Troupe, and Jerry W. Ward, Jr. Among other deceased trustees are: Amiri Baraka (1934-2014) and Raymond R. Patterson (1929-2002).
In addition to having appeared here as guests of the Club, trustees also served on the editorial board of Drumvoices Revue, a literary-cultural journal formerly co-published by the Club and SIUE's English Department.
Creation of the Kwansaba
One of the Club's signature inventions is the “kwansaba,” a poem of “sevens”--seven lines, seven words per line, with each word having no more than seven letters. Exceptions to the seven-letter rule are foreign terms, proper nouns and quoted words or passages.
Of the trustees, Dr. Weathers and Dr. Ward have written kwansabas. Others have been the subject of special issues of Drumvoices where they were honored with kwansabas.
Hundreds of examples of the form appear in Drumvoices and dozens of other publications. In the past couple of years alone, three volumes of poetry--by Tara Betts, Treasure Shields Redmond, and Darlene Roy—have been devoted wholly or in part to the kwansaba.
For information about the March 21 program or the Club: call 618 650-3991; write EBR Writers Club at P.O. Box 6165, ESL, IL 62201; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Press Release courtesy of EBR Writers Group