by Will Allen
The McLeod Plantation Historic Site is hosting a series featuring poetry workshops and readings from fellows of the Cave Canem poetry foundation whose work explores the black experience in America.
The first poet in this series is Len Lawson — his book Before the Night Wakes You has been lauded for its honest discussion of race and the African-American experience. A doctoral candidate, Lawson is also working on his upcoming book, Chime. Lawson is the co-founder of the Poets Respond to Race initiative, and he co-edited the initiative’s first anthology, Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race, in 2017.
Lawson will host a poetry workshop at the James Island Town Hall on Sat. April 7 at 2 p.m. about how to write poetry while meeting the struggles of daily life. The workshop is free to attend.
On Sun. April 8, Lawson will be at McLeod for a poetry reading followed by a Q&A session under the McLeod Oak. A reception and book signing will follow in the big house. The event begins at 2 p.m.
The second poet in the spring series is Marilyn Nelson, the daughter of one of the last Tuskegee Airmen and a three-time finalist for the National Book Award. Her book Faster Than Light which she will read at McLeod Plantation, won the 2013 Milton Kessler Poetry Award.
Nelson will host her own free poetry workshop at the James Island Town Hall on Sat. June 2 at 2 p.m. She will also be at the McLeod Plantation Historic Site on Sun. June 3 at 2 p.m. to read selections of her work, followed by a Q&A and book-signing reception.
Admission to the poetry events at McLeod Plantation Historic Site on either April 8 and June 3 is free for the first 50 attendees. After that, admission is free with park admission, which is $15 for ages 13 and up, $12 for 60+, or $6 for kids ages 3-12.