Words Across the Water – Fall 2022

South Carolina State University will present a series of four interactive, virtual programs on “Words Across the Water: Writing and Discourse Across the Black Atlantic” from September 15 – November 17, 2022. SC Humanities helped support this program with a Mini Grant.

“Words Across the Water” will explore the intersections where Anglophone Caribbean and African American cultural traditions meet and engage each other in language.“Challenged and Forbidden” (September 15), “Indigenous and Migration” (October 6), “Ancestors” (October 27), and “Celebrating Celebration!” (November 17). Each program will feature different speakers reading literary works relevant to the theme and facilitating dialogue. This series builds on previous “Words Across the Water” series that ran from January – April 2021, September – November 2021, and February – April 2022.

The program schedule is:

Thursday, September 15, 2022 | 5:00 p.m.
Challenged and Forbidden Words
Poets Jacqueline Bishop and Richard Georges will be the featured guests for the opening program. The event is free, but preregistration at https://tinyurl.com/4km3sub3 is required.  (After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.)

Jacqueline Bishop is an accomplished writer, academic, and visual artist with exhibitions in Belgium, Morocco, Italy, Cape Verde, Niger, USA, and Jamaica. In addition to her role as Assistant Professor at New York University, Jacqueline Bishop was a 2020 Dora Maar/Brown Foundation Fellow in France; 2008-2009 Fulbright Fellow in Morocco; and 2009-2010 UNESCO/Fulbright Fellow in Paris. Bishop has received several awards, including: the OCM Bocas Award for her book “The Gymnast & Other Position”, The Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for short story writing, The Arthur Schomburg Award for Excellence in the Humanities from New York University, A James Michener Creative Writing Fellowship, as well as several awards from the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission. Jacqueline’s recent ceramic work consists of brightly colored bone China plates used symbolically in Caribbean homes, and explores how they hid the violent legacy of slavery and colonialism in the Atlantic world.

Richard Georges is a writer and editor in the British Virgin Islands. He is the author of three collections of poetry, Make Us All Islands (2017), Giant (2018), and Epiphaneia (2019), which won the 2020 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. He is the current Poet Laureate of the Virgin Islands, and works in higher education in Tortola where he lives with his wife and children.

Thursday, October 6, 2022 | 5:00 p.m.
Indigenous and Migration
The October 6 Words Across the Water program will feature Poets Cyndi Marshall of the Barbabos and Jillian Hanesworth of Buffalo NY.  Poet and educator Hannah Hoilett-Frierson will be the moderator. The event is free on Zoom, but pre-registration is required at https://tinyurl.com/3nr3jy9a. (After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.)

Cyndi Celeste is a spoken word poet, storyteller and creative entrepreneur based in Barbados. She is an arts activist and language advocate who uses performance poetry and literature to encourage social discourse on issues of identity. Inspired by Barbadian and Caribbean culture, her work seeks to educate as well as entertain, beseeching her audiences to introspection and progressive thought. Cyndi has released a spoken word EP called ‘Cyndicated’ which explores black creative and cultural identity.

Jillian Hanesworth was born and raised on the East side of Buffalo, NY. She began writing at the age of 7, when she would write songs for her mother to sing in church. She later took a break from writing to successfully pursue educational goals, and worked to obtain a BA in criminal justice and law focusing on reform.
In January of 2017, Jillian committed herself to social change through art, thus began her poetry career. Since then, Jillian has performed over 200 times, in Buffalo, NY, NYC, Baltimore, MD, Toronto, and everywhere in between. She has let her passion lead her mission empower listeners to take part in demanding and creating sustainable systemic change. Currently, Jillian is the founder of Literary Freedom, LLC, a community activist and organizer and the first ever Poet Laureate in the history of Buffalo after she spent 2 years advocating for the existence of the role. Jillian loves and lives for the community and exemplifies that in all that she does.

Thursday, October 27, 2022 | 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, November 17, 2022 | 5:00 p.m.
Celebrating Celebration!

All events will be on Zoom and will start at 5 pm. Registration information will be updated several weeks in advance of the program date. For more information contact Dr. Thomas Cassidy at tcassidy@scsu.edu.

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 21-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.

Photo by Alin Meceanu on Unsplash