Sept. 20, 2010-Meet Cave Canem Fellow Tara Betts

21 Aug

A Celebration for author, Def Poet, and Cave Canem Fellow Tara Betts. Special guest poets, Derrick Weston-Brown, Sonya Renee, & Truth Thomas.

MahoganyBooks is excited to bring world renowned poet and author, Tara Betts, to Washington DC . The event will take place at  U-topia Bar & Grill on Monday, September 20th, from 6:30pm – 8:30pm. This event is a celebration of the one year anniversary of Tara Betts debut poetry collection, Arc & Hue.   Arc and Hue will be available for purchase at the event and will be signed by Tara Betts.

Tara Betts, a lecturer in creative writing at Rutgers University , has had her poetry appear in various journals and anthologies, as well as, in publications such as XXL, The Source, BIBR, Mosaic Magazine and Black Radio Exclusive. As a performer Ms. Betts has appeared on both HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam” and the Black Family Channel series “SPOKEN” with Jessica Care Moore.

Additionally, Tara has performed her work in Cuba, London, New York, on the West Coast and throughout the Midwest . The venues in which she has performed have spanned notable sites such as Arie Crown Theater, The New School, Studio Museum of Harlem, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the Bowery Poetry Club among others.

The highlight of the evening will feature Tara Betts and special guest poets, Derrick Weston-Brown, Sonya Renee and Truth Thomas, reading from her acclaimed book in the relaxing and eclectic atmosphere of U-topia Bar & Grill.

Guest poets Derrick Weston-Brown is a Cave Canem fellow and the poet-in-residence at Busboys & Poets bookstore and restaurant; Sonya Renee is a National Poetry Slam Champion and Truth Thomas work has appeared in: African Voices, Art Times, the anthology Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: Poetry and Prose on HIV/AIDS From the Black Diaspora and many more

This is a must attend event for fans of poetry, as well as, admirers of great books. On the same historic street that once bore witness to Langston Hughes’ genius, you will meet and hear Tara Betts, a poet whose “…debut collection [Arc and Hue ] solidifies her status as a defiant and singular voice, joyous indication of a fresh new direction in poetry.” Attending this event is the best way to start your week.

About MahoganyBooks
Created by an enterprising husband and wife duo in the Washington DC area, MahoganyBooks is positioned to become the premier online destination for books written for, by, and about people of African descent. Coupling a dynamic social networking community, robust inventory selection and easy to use website, MahoganyBooks is an online African American bookstore dedicated to “Books, Community, Words, & You.”

Meet the Guest Poets

Derrick Weston Brown   holds an MFA in Creative Writing from American University. He has participated in VONA and is a Cave Canem fellow. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ginosko, Mythium, The Columbia Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Drunken Boat, and MipOesia. In 2006 he released his first chapbook of poetry, The Unscene, and has recently completed a full-length manuscript, Wisdom Teeth. He teaches poetry at Hart Middle School in Washington, DC. He is the Poet-In-Residence at Busboys and Poets’ 14th & V location in Washington, DC, and the bookstore, which is operated by the nonprofit Teaching For Change.

Sonya Renee  is the director of Peer Education at Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS), a non-profit organization that promotes HIV prevention and empowerment programming in Washington, DC. At work, she recruits, trains and supervises current and former sex workers to act as sex educators in their communities. In addition to her professional job, she is a National Poetry SLAM-winning performance poet who is committed to using the power of spoken word to bring empowering and progressive ideas to the public. Sonya’s poetry is blunt, raw, and poignant. She speaks the truth with no mixed words and challenges society to face its deepest and most long-lived ills with strength, courage and sometimes a lot of laughter. In the same light, her work also reflects a checkered childhood overcoming a family riddled with drug addiction and mental illness, and dealing with the reality of living completely on her own from the age of 17. Sometimes all that is left, is to get real.

Truth Thomas is a singer and poet, born in Knoxville, Tennessee, raised in Washington, DC. He studied creative writing at Howard University under Dr. Tony Medina and E. Ethelbert Miller, before earning his M.F.A. degree in Poetry at New England College. He is formally writer-in-residence for the Howard County Poetry and Literary Society in Maryland.

Bottle of Life–another tide rising–September 30th of 2010. Truth Thomas’ reputation as an “ironic, funny, sexy, tender” poet is founded on the seeds of his debut pamphlet, Party of Black, which introduced the world, not only to his eloquent, politically-charged voice, but also to a new poetic form of his own invention – the Skinny. But the roots of his recognition lie in his sophisticated, inventive first collection, A Day of Presence. In the run up to the release of his second full collection, Bottle of Life, his poem ‘Harriet Tubman’s Email 2 Master’ has been selected by Nikki Giovanni, to be published in The 100 Best African American Poems, due out in the fall of 2010.


Ramunda Young
Chief Community Relations Officer
Tel: 703.730.3873
Fax: 888.573.3987
Books, Community, Words & You

Brought to you by EDC Creations and Black Pearls Magazine. Visit the magazine here:


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