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In celebration of National Poetry Month, an exhibit of Affrilachian Poetry is now on display inside Special Collections on the 4th floor of Belk Library for the month of April. The exhibit, curated by graduate student Forrest Gray Yerman, is accessible while Special Collections is open. Click here for hours.
Affrilachian poetry is a distinction to say, Appalachian poetry by poets of minority ethnic backgrounds either from Appalachia, or with a connection to the Appalachian region. This distinction is made due to the historical and prevalent myth of Appalachians as white, mountain people, or hillbillies.
Like Appalachian poetry, Affrilachian poetry features many themes such as connection to place, family, food, music, nature, and coal mining, as well as poems and poets that take a broad view in writing about the South; broader, the United States; and most broadly, the world, and our human connection to the whirling “business” that surrounds all 7 billion of us. This exhibit features books of poetry from past and contemporary poets, as well as several books from members of the Affrilachian Poets, a formal, nationally recognized, invitation-only group of Affrilachian writers.
Curator Forrest Gray Yerman is pursuing a Master’s degree in Appalachian Studies and works in Special Collections. Affrilachia and the Affrilachian Poets are the focus of his graduate studies.
For more information about Affrilachian poetry, please see the pathfinder dedicated to this subject.
Top: This picture features several members of the Affrilachian Poets, and friend Parneshia Jones, and testifies to the true diversity of the Appalachian region and the group. From the top, left to right: Mitchell L.H. Douglas, Rane Ramón Arroyo, and Hao Wang; bottom, left to right: Crystal Good, Parneshia Jones, Ellen Hagan, Amanda Johnston, Kelly Norman Ellis, Tania James, and Bianca Spriggs
Middle: Randall Horton, member of the Affrilachian Poets, and Forrest Gray Yerman.
Bottom: Affrilachian Poet Ricardo Nazario y Colón wearing an original Affrilachian Poets t-shirt.