The child of emancipated slaves, Jack Johnson fought violent segregation and the racism of white America during the era of Jim Crow to become the first African American heavyweight boxing champion of the world. In The Big Smoke, poet Adrian Matejka uses the voices of Johnson and the many white women that he loved to examine Johnson's complicated legacy: his childhood in poverty, his flashy personality and wealth, his brutal relationships with his lovers and his pinnacle match against the former undefeated world heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries in Reno, Nevada.
For forty years, Penn State University and its beloved head football coach "St. Joe" Paterno could do no wrong in the eyes of the citizens of the area known as Happy Valley. This all changed in November 2011, when the former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse. Not rated. Refreshments will be served.
Ash, English Professor and director of Indiana State University's
Creative Writing Program will
guide a poetry workshop based on The Big Smoke. After
discussing Adrian Matejka's poems, and persona poems specifically,
attendees will write a poem from the perspective of a figure from history or pop culture.