Grambling State University’s A. C. Lewis Memorial Library recently celebrated National Library Week. The theme was Come Together at Your Library. The week began with a media day and was followed by National Library Workers Day (Library Appreciation Day) held on Tuesday. Also, Tuesday through Friday there was an orientation to library resources and services for faculty. In addition, Friday was “No Fine Day.” and the staff showed the movies The Great Debaters and A Lesson Before Dying.
As part of their annual celebration the library staff held a program entitled National Poetry Extravaganza. The theme was Worlds Connect at Your Library.
Maraine Hall presided, which began with a greeting given by library director, Dr. Rosemary Mokia. Other library staffers participated in the program. Cora Odom led a meditation followed by Jerry Brooks’ rendition of George Benson’s song “Everything Must Change.”
The poetic expressions began with KGRM’s general manager, Joyce Evans, who recited James Weldon Johnson’s “The Creation.”
Between poetic expressions there were “moments in poetry,” during which library staffers gave students hints about famous poets. The first presenter was Kimberly Buggs who gave Dawn Wilson a prize when she correctly guessed Nikki Giovanni was the poet who background information was given.
GSU history professor Dr. Jimmy McJamerson presented his poetry. The first poem, “Just Because,” was written in honor of Barack Obama. He recited his “I Am, Who I Am,” and the last poem was his popular “Phenomenal Man,” his answer to Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman.”
He was followed by Dessie Sanders, who said, “It is good to come together to share words of expression. Poetry makes us laugh or cry.” Sanders began by quoting from Isaiah 64:8 and gave a dramatic recitation of Johnson’s “Creation.” Sanders, who teaches in GSU’s English department, is an award-winning actress.
Author Tommy Johnson, whose works are often enjoyed by audiences, began with his “We Build a Paradise.” His “Negro Jim” is an attempt to honor people who served in the military while telling how one can be crushed by adversity. The last poem was “I Am Africa.”
Joelisa Garner, a New Orleans freshman, said that Johnson did a very good job. “This program was very informative. I enjoyed it very much,” said Garner.
St. Lucia native Trichia Cadette also enjoyed Johnson’s works. She said that Johnson was the most memorable poet and his poems seemed to be rooted in African American struggle and pride.
She said, “His first poem spoke about people being the builders of their own paradise. His second poem, ‘Negro Jim,’ spoke of an African American man’s struggle through not only the war but also black oppression.”
“His final poem, ‘Africa,’ spoke of the richness of the motherland. Towards the end of the poem, Mr. Johnson engaged the audience in a repetition of a few lines of his poem,” said Cadette. “This was a great ending to the A. C. Lewis Memorial Library’s Poetry Extravaganza.”
Glenda Corbin presented the last moment in poetry about Gwendolyn Brooks. Marcus Smith guessed Brooks’ identity and was awarded a prize.
Hall acknowledge the library staff and poetry extravaganza committee and thanked those in attendance.