PERFORMANCE DATE: THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 26
VENUE: URBANA FREE LIBRARY: 210 W Green St, Urbana, IL 61801
TIME: 6:00 PM [FULL SCHEDULE HERE]
FREE + OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
“Out of necessity, Mahogany L. Browne has become her own revolution: she is one of those people who sees things in the world that need to change and actually makes real moves to change them. While there can only ever really be one Mahogany L. Browne, we’d be very lucky to have more poets/humans who are as fiercely visionary, hardworking, and resourceful as her.” —Ploughshares
Writer, organizer, vocalist, spoken word poet, and educator Mahogany L. Browne is the author of poetry and fiction. Her YA poetry book Black Girl Magic celebrates a black girlhood that is “free, unforgettable, and luminous” (School Library Journal), while her children’s book Woke Baby is for all the littlest progressives who grow up to change the world; both were published in 2018 by Roaring Brook/Macmillan. Her poetry collections include Kissing Caskets (YesYes Books, 2017) and the NAACP-nominated chapbook Redbone (Willow Books, 2016). She has co-edited the anthology The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 3: Black Girl Magic, declared by Dazed as “one of the most important volumes of poetry in recent years” and is at work on the YA anthology WOKE: A Young Poets Guide To Justice(2020), co-edited with Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood. Of Redbone, Ross Gay wrote: “What I may love most about Redbone is the way it strains formally, with syntax and diction, with voice and perspective, searching for the right space on the page to make of this complex family story which, like most family stories, is made of sweetness and plain old hurt a kind of bearable song. It’s such a moving act. Such a caring and true telling. Such a singing.”
Born in Oakland, California, Browne dropped out of high school after being told not to write poetry during a English honors class. Using her personal experiences with addiction, racism, sexism and oppression to inspire her own brand of shameless authentic work, Browne’s spoken word performances create a platform for women and girls to feel empowered and heard.
She has a MFA in Writing and Activism from Pratt Institute, where she founded the Women Writers of Color Reading Room and became the director of the Black Lives Matter program. Browne is one of the founders of the socially active literary collective #BlackPoetsSpeakOut (with Amanda Johnston, Jonterri Gadson, Jericho Brown, and Sherina Rodriguez Sharpe), created out of urgency and as a response to the non-indictment of the Mike Brown’s murderer.
Browne is the publisher of Penmanship Books, curator of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Friday Night Slam, founder of the Women Writers of Color Reading Room, and the director of Black Lives Matter at Pratt Institute, and artistic director at Urban Word NYC (a non-profit youth literary organization).
Her work has appeared in Poetry, Bustle, BET, Academy of American Poets, and other venues. She has also released five LPs, including a live album, Sheroshima. She is the recipient of literary fellowships from Agnes Gund, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, and Rauschenberg. Browne has been featured in PBS NewsHour reading her poem “Black Girl Magic” and in HBO’s Brave New Voices. She has toured internationally as a member of Global Poetics, an international arts exchange.
Mahogany L. Browne is the current Poetry Coordinator at St. Francis College’s MFA Program. She resides in Brooklyn, NY.