Tag Archives: Reading

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story

You might know Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie if you have ever listened to Beyonce’s song “Flawless,” where the Beyonce sampled a portion of the author’s famous TEDTalk: “We should all be feminists” from April 2013.  The sample portion contains the most quoted part of the speech: “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls ‘You can have ambition, but not too much’.”

Adichie is no stranger to tackling the tough issues when it comes to writing and politics.  In her July 2009 talk at TEDGlobal, Adichie talks about what she calls ‘the danger of a single story.’  Growing up, Adichie had only read books by British authors, and while she credits them with stirring her imagination and passion for reading and writing, they did not represent her or her native surroundings in Nigeria.  Eventually, she comes to find African literature (she names Chinua Achebe and Camara Laye as examples) that featured ‘girls with skin the color of chocolate, whose kinky hair could not form ponytails.’

Slide16However, while these narratives helped to reinforce what she knew to be true—Nigeria and Africa were places of rich diversity, complexity, culture, and history—that another, more simplified and problematic narrative about Africa and Africans was the one told around the world.  Through multiple experiences in the west, she learns about the ‘single story of Africa’ as a place of violence, poverty, hunger, and despair—images, she claims, comes from western literature and its colonial roots.

Listen and watch as Adichie creates her own narrative about the roles of reading and writing in personal and professional life and how they form narratives about peoples and places that shape our understanding of our global community.

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Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner’s Poem on Climate Change Shows the Power of Poetry

kathy_jetnil-kijinerKathy Jetnil-Kijiner, a 26-year-old poet, writer, artist, and journalist from the Marshall Islands, recited her poem about climate change and its effects to a delegation of world leaders at the United Nations who had gathered for the Climate Leaders Summit earlier this week on September 23.   Jetnil-Kijiner had been chosen to perform her piece alongside the impassioned speeches of presidents, prime ministers, and celebrities, including Al Gore (Chairman of Generation Investment Management and the Climate Reality Project) and Leonardo DiCaprio (Actor and UN Messenger of Peace).

Her performance, which ended with her being joined by her newborn daughter and husband, brought many world leaders to tears:

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Jetnil-Kijiner’s home is the Marshall Islands, a group of low-lying coral atolls in the northern Pacific Ocean, which have already witnessed the effects of rising ocean levels.  Her poem, ocean161marisl_003‘Dear Matafele Peinem,’ was written to her daughter: “You are so excited for bananas, hugs and our morning walks along the lagoon.”

The lagoon becomes a key metaphor for her, her daughter, and the future of the Marshall Islands:  “I want to tell you about that lagoon. That lucid, sleepy lagoon lounging against the sunrise. Men say, that one day, that lagoon will devour you.” The rising ocean levels have caused the waters in the lagoon overflow their banks, slowly ‘devouring’ the land around it.’  

But in Jetnil-Kijiner’s poem, the lagoon does not yet win:

“And we are canoes blocking coal ships. We are the radiance of solar villages. We are the rich clean soil of the farmer’s past. We are petitions blooming from teenage fingertips.

 

We are families biking, recycling, reusing, engineers dreaming, designing, building, artists painting, dancing, writing.

 

“We are spreading the word. And there are thousands out on the street, marching with signs, hand in hand chanting for change NOW.”

Her performance received a standing ovation from world leaders and summit delegates, proving (yet again) the power of poetry.  You can see Jetnil-Kijiner performing her piece at the UN Summit here and watch a high-definition video for it here.

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It’s almost time for THE SLAM! Are you ready?

The 2nd Annual Poetry Slam Competition is almost here, and we’re looking for CPC poets to bring their A game.  

Poetry SlamTo get you ready to rock the stage, check out how some other poets have brought the slam:

How will you slam?

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The Central Pen Mixer!

Join the contributors to the new “Central Pen Literary Journal” as they present their submitted works, ranging from poetry to short fiction. This upscale event features heavy hors d‘oeuvres and drinks. Attendees are asked to dress in business casual attire, just like you would dress when attending an after-hours business mixer or networking event.
Student performances begin at 8:30 p.m. The emcee guiding the night is student Derrick Johnson, winner of the 2013 NCommon Poetry Slam.

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11th Annual SLAM Contest

Join local poets for the 11th Annual Heavyword Poetry Championship for an evening of SLAM poetry:

Who? Poets who are at least 17 and fans of any age

Where?  Coakley’s Restaurant, 305 Bridge Str., New Cumberland, PA

When?  Saturday, October 5th at 6 PM

How? Signing up (poets) or stopping in (fans)

Why?  WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHY?

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Organized by Central Penn’s and Central Pen’s own: Professor Maria James Thiaw.  Carla Christopher, who blessed the mic at Central Penn just last term, is announcing event Click on the flyer to zoom in and get the details!

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Students Battle at Late Night Slam Session

 

The crowd gathers for the poetry slam

The crowd gathers for the poetry slam

On Thursday night, over one hundred students, faculty, and staff crowded together around a makeshift stage to hear the lyrical acrobatics of talented student poets who had filtered into the two front rows.  Over a dozen students signed up to recite their original, three-minutes-or-less poems, including Aaron Watson, Erica “Ms. Carmen” Torres, Timothy Kearney, Jr., Nicole Kempf, Kareem Aiken, Brit “Kai,” Caitlin Hall, and Amanda Kloehr to see who could walk away as The Central Pen Slam Poet and the one hundred dollar cash prize.

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Join Us for the Poetry Slam on Thursday!

What: Join the Central Penn Community for a Poetry Slam and Multicultural Festival

Where: Outside of Scuzzi’s

When: 8 P.M.-10 P.M. this Thursday, August 29th

Why: $100 Cash Prize to the First Place Winner

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Bring original poetry and keep it under 3 mins.!

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Join Us for Another Write On Time Cafe!

The Central Pen E-zine presents ANOTHER Write On Time Cafe! a creative writing and slam prep workshop.  Join us on Wednesday, September 4th from 3.30-4.30 in the Charles Jones library. Refreshments will be served and there will be fun, free giveaways for the participants.  Come join club advisers, Professors Maria Thiaw and Melissa Wehler, as well as the Central Pen student editors for an afternoon of creating and crafting.  For more information, email us at thecentralpen@gmail.com.

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Students Celebrate The Central Pen Launch with Explosive Open Mic Night

Students listen to Jordan Parrish's electric performance

Students listen to Jordan Parrish’s electric performance

On June 12, the students of Central Penn College celebrated the launch of their new e-zine, The Central Pen, with poetry and performance.  The e-zine will feature creative works by students, faculty, staff, and community members along with articles and posts by students and faculty.  You can submit your own work to The Central Pen by clicking here.

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Maria James-Thiaw Reads From Her New Book: Talking ‘White’

Maria James Thiaw

Maria James-Thiaw prepares to perform for the students, faculty, and staff of Central Penn College

Poet, Professor, and Performance Artist, Maria James-Thiaw, performed pieces from her new book of poetry, Talking “White,” for an audience of students, faculty, and staff at Central Penn College on Thursday, May 30.  The event was hosted by the amazing library staff, Diane Porterfield and Jill Hallam-Miller, of the Charles “T” Jones Library at Central Penn College.

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