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Blues Poetry

April 6 @ EST 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm


An In-Person Master Class with Doug Curry

Participants will deepen their knowledge of the literary, aural, and oral legacy of the blues by engaging with Doug Curry’s and other practitioners’ blues poems and songs. Listening to recorded examples, they will discuss and interpret the overt and subliminal messages inherent in this time-honored tradition. Discussion will center on varied kinds of blues poetry, from spoken word to street rhymes, to song, and their function in the Black community over time. Participants will also consider blues poetry as a universal art form applicable to any disaffected community. In a collaborative effort, this generative workshop will encourage participants to  build off one another, contributing original lines to an impromptu blues poem, accumulating in a finished song and product. Participants will receive copies of a discography and bibliography of a three-hour “Blacks & Blues” radio program.

NB: Sexual, violent, and other adult materials may be presented.

Blues Poetry is a New York State of Poetry event celebrating National Poetry Month. An initiative organized by New York State Poet Laureate Willie Perdomo and Teachers & Writers Collaborative, New York State of Poetry showcases the diverse and powerful voices across our state and the transformative power of poetry.To learn more about April events taking place in all 10 New York State districts, go to https://twc.org/nystateofpoetry  and @teacherswriters #nystateofpoetry.

Doug Curry is a native New Yorker, born in Harlem and raised in the Bronx. A 1974 graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University, he is a poet, writer, radio host, and actor. Since 1982, he has been the voice and radio host of “Blacks & Blues with Doug Curry,” heard online and on terrestrial radio in Western and Central New York, as well as in the international blues capital of Chicago, Illinois. Doug has voiced film and audio books and appeared in a variety of dramatic roles onstage and remotely for local theater entities, including, among others, Blackfriars Theater and its Hourglass Reading Service, the Bronze Collective, the Off-Monroe Players, the Penfield Players, and Rochester Institute of Technology’s NTID. He currently serves as Vice President of Just Poets, an award-winning literary group based in Rochester, NY.  Doug has been an automotive sales professional since 1987.

Bibliography/Recommended Reading

To learn more about historic blues lyrics, the following volumes are recommended. There are many others, as well, but these are particularly good for revealing the nature, structure, and presentation of blues poetry through spoken word and song lyrics.

Talkin’ to Myself: Blues Lyrics, 1921-1942, Michael Taft (Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2006)

Deep Down In The Jungle: Blacks American Folklore from the Streets of Philadelphia, Roger D. Abrahams, Aldine Transaction (Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 1964)

Blues Poems, Kevin Young, ed. (Random House, 2003)

Fattening Frogs for Snakes, John Sinclair (Surregional Press, 2022)

This is an in-person workshop held at Writers & Books. Scholarships are available.

If you are a Writers and Books member, please remember to login into your account to receive your discount.


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April 6
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:
If you would like to make a request for any accommodation, please email us at accommodation@wab.org at least 10 days prior to the event or workshop.

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