Support the Wanda Coleman Library in L.A.

I would like to write a longer post and talk about the times I spoke with Wanda Coleman that were all too brief. Instead, I wanted to share my letter of support since her widow Austin Strauss is advocating for a branch of the Los Angeles Public Library to be named after her. You can email comments to Raquel Borden at TODAY to express your support. I’ve included my letter of support below.


Dear Raquel,

I am writing to you because I want to express my heartfelt, enthusiastic support for naming a Los Angeles Public Library branch after the late lifelong L.A. resident Wanda Coleman. As an emerging poet, her work deeply inspired me and she was so generous with her time when I visited Los Angeles that I saw her as a sort of ambassador for the city.

Beyond that, Wanda Coleman was a prolific writer and published so many books in her lifetime and embodied the experiences of the region in a powerful way. When I describe her work, I often say that Wanda Coleman’s poetry does what Charles Burnett’s films do for Los Angeles. Both Coleman and Burnett offer a compelling, well-crafted, and under-recognized perspective of life and the pervasive moods of Los Angeles.

By naming this library after her, you would honor Coleman’s legacy in a long-term way that extends beyond the accolades that she garnered in life and make her name more visible in the city that she loved deeply. She supported libraries since her childhood, and as a gifted writer and contributor to the American literary culture, I hope that the Board of Library Commissioners will see fit to do the same.
Tara Betts, Ph.D.
Binghamton University

Octavia’s Brood anthology reading

Photo on 4-3-15 at 12.53 AM

Join co-editors adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha, along with contributing writers Tara Betts, Alexis Pauline Gumbs,Dani McClai, Autumn Brown, Gabriel Teodros, Morrigan Belle Phillips,Tunde Olaniran for the Detroit release of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. The book “Octavia’s Brood” will be for sale at this event. Both editors and many contributors will be present to sign your copy!

We will start out with a dramatic reading of the work from 4:30-6:00pm, featuring writers from the Detroit Collective Sci-Fi Writing Salons, original sci-fi films from The James and Grace Lee Boggs School, context from dream hampton, futuristic folk aural landscape from Arlow Xan, harpist Ahya Simone, and St. Zita.

Next will be a thrilling performance by Mic Write, then we will party like it’s the future with DJs including Mike Medow, VJ Oren Goldenberg and a live set from Tunde Olaniran!

These events are part of the 2015 Art X Detroit Festival with Allied Media Projects as our community sponsor!

“The Break Beat Poets” release party (Chicago, IL)

Tara Betts will be one of the featured poets in one of Chicago’s release parties for The Break Beat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. Tonight’s release party takes place at The Promontory, 5311 South Lake Park Ave. West, Chicago, IL, 60615.

Woman Made Gallery Annual Invitational (Chicago, IL)

Readers Tara Betts, Hannah Rebecca Gamble, Allison Hedge Coke, Angela Jackson, and Marty McConnell – have made their mark on an uneven playing field; they offer poetry in a variety of styles, voices and themes. Curated by Nina Corwin. Woman Made Gallery is located at 685 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60642.


Woman Made Gallery’s 18th annual International Open exhibit spans both Women’s History month and Poetry Month. While most WMG readings are organized around the theme of the concurrent art exhibit, this reading is an open celebration of women writers. A survey by VIDA, Women in Literary Arts, examined the publishing record of a number of leading literary journals and discovered that sizable gender disparities continue to be widespread throughout the industry.

Mother Tongue Monologues (NYC)

Tara Betts, Sonya Renee, Lady Zen, Helena D. Lewis, Mahogany Browne, Crystal Valentine are part of a showcase of directed by Nikki Patin and Piper Anderson at the National Black Theater in Harlem. Mother Tongue Monologues showcases a cast of spoken word artists in a revolutionary poetic dialogue about state violence directed towards Black women. If you’re in NYC on February 21st, you are in for a rare and extraordinary treat. Get your tickets NOW at Brown Paper Tickets.

Updated MTM 2015 image for Web

UND Writers Conference

Tara Betts will be one of the featured authors at the University of North Dakota Writers Conference.

She will be on a panel with Alexandra Grant and Gish Jen on Wednesday, March 25, 12 NOON at the Memorial Union.

On Friday, March 27, Tara Betts, Roxane Gay, Alexandra Grant, and Bonnie Jo Campbell appear on a panel at 12 NOON at Memorial Union. Tara’s poetry workshop takes place at 2 p.m. Registration is required, and the number of participants will be limited.  Tara reads at 4 p.m. in Memorial Union.

The Racial Imaginary Creative Writing Conference (Missoula, MT)

Tara Betts, Ching-In Chen, Marissa Johnson-Valenzeula, and Rae Paris for a panel and reading based on the DISMANTLE anthology at The Racial Imaginary Creative Writing Conference on March 12-14, 2014 in Missoula, MT

AWP 2015

All events will take place at the Minneapolis Convention Center (1301 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55403).
Joe Gouveia 2 Split This Rock 2008
4/9/2015, 10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Tribute to Joe Gouveia, Hosted by Naugatuck River Review
Robert Muroff Bookfair Stage, Level 1
4/10/15, 12:00 p.m.-1:15 p.m.
Writers of Color Moving Beyond the Boundaries of Our Communities:
A VONA/Voices Writers Panel
Room 101 F&G, Level 1
EQatAWPOn April 10, 2015, 8 p.m. – An offsite reading at The Loft Literary Center (1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55415) featuring: Roxane Gay, Patricia Smith, Regie Cabico With Emmanuel  Ortiz, Lorena Duarte, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Tatiana Ormaza, Marcie Rendon, Diego Vázquez Jr, Tish Jones, Marisa Carr, Christy NaMee Eriksen, R. Vincent Moniz Jr, Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria, Khary Jackson, Juliana Hu Pegues Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, David Mura, E.G. Bailey, Shá Cage, Danez Bryant, Danny Solis, Ed Bok Lee, Mooks, Douglas Kearney, Ka Vang, Nimo Farah, Moheb Soliman, Guante, IBé, Andrea Jenkins, Nazirah, Tou Saiko Lee, Tara Betts, and many more TBA.


Tara Betts reads at “Mr. Hip Presents” (Boston)

“Mr. Hip Presents” kicks off its second year with amazing talent ranging from Tara Betts, Emily Pettit, Princess Chan, Regie Gibson, Jordan Pailthorpe, Brandon Amico, April Nicotera, and Sean Patrick Mulroy. Their bios and smiles are up on our webpage at:  Join them on August 16th, 6-8:30 p.m. at Gold Gallery, 655 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118.

The musical guest for the evening is SaTarra Troutman alongside with the GOOD Vibes Trio.
There will be prizes and swag. You won’t want to miss this event. You can’t miss this event. This is the best time $8 will get you in Boston.  Don’t forget to tweet: @mrhippresents

If you take a picture of our event’s flyer at Brookline Booksmith or the Grolier Poetry Shop, and you’re the first person to show us at the photo at the door, you’ll get in free.

Tara Betts, Joe Weil, and Emily Vogel at Barron Arts Center (Woodbridge, NJ)

Joe Weil, Emily Vogel & Tara Betts will be sharing their poems at the Barron Arts Center, located at 582 Rahway Ave., Woodbridge, NJ on Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 8 p.m.  There is also a writing workshop prior to the reading at 7 p.m. Call 732-634-0413 for more information.