Kent State Ashtabula Library, Area Partners to Host Events as Part of NEA Big Read Northeast Ohio Program

Community Reading Program to Celebrate “An American Sunrise”

As part of the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read community reading program, Kent State University at Ashtabula Library will partner with Kent State University Library, local area libraries and other collaborators for programs and events related to and focusing on Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s “An American Sunrise” through May 2022.

Kent State was one of 61 organizations nationwide to be awarded a 2021-22 NEA Big Read grant. The $20,000 grant supports the programs, events and activities being offered by the partner institutions in Northeast Ohio.

“An American Sunrise” is a book of poetry influenced and informed by Harjo’s tribal history and connection to the land of her Native American ancestors.  Two hundred years after their removal from that land, Harjo, the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States, returns to open a powerful dialogue with history, exploring family, grief, injustice, beauty and survival.

“Poetry has been said to provide an architecture for discussing topics that are difficult to put into words and Joy Harjo’s ‘An American Sunrise’ is a beautiful exploration of identity, trauma, grief, and love,” said Beth Devore, associate lecturer in English at Kent State Ashtabula. “The NEA Big Read Northeast Ohio is an exciting opportunity to expand the role of poetry in our community and give us new tools for exploring our own identities and processing the events of the last year through writing workshops and our discussion of poetry.”

Kent State’s participation with the program begins Oct. 12 at 7 p.m., with the Big Read Kickoff Celebration on the Kent Campus.  Locally, scheduled events and locations include:

Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021 (7 p.m.)NEA Big Read Kickoff Event Kent State University Student Center Kiva Auditorium

  • The kickoff event for NEA Big Read Northeast Ohio will launch programming, events and activities that celebrate Joy Harjo’s An American Sunrise. Cynthia Connolly of the Lake Erie Native American Council will be the keynote speaker and selected Harjo poems will be read by poet and author Kimberlee Medicine Horn Jackson. The event will introduce the Traveling Stanzas interactive project, inviting individuals to contribute to a community poem, inspired by Harjo’s book.  

Register Here


Monday, Nov. 1, 2021 (6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.) – NEA Big Read Book Discussion Ashtabula County District Library

  • In celebration of Native American History Month, ACDL is partnering with Kent State University for their 2021-2022 NEA-funded Big Read initiative. They have selected Joy Harjo’s An American Sunrise as their Big Read title. An American Sunrise is a book of poetry and Harjo’s personal dialogue with history, as she revisits the homelands of her Native American ancestors 200 years after their forced removal.  It explores themes of family, grief, and injustice.  Please contact the library for a copy of this book prior to the interactive discussion.  Refreshments will be served.  For more information contact the Ashtabula Library at 440-997-9341.

Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021 (1 p.m. – 3 p.m.) – Open Adult Art Lab Inspired by “An American Sunrise” Ashtabula County District Library

  • In celebration of Native American History Month, ACDL is partnering with Kent State University for their 2021-2022 NEA-funded Big Read initiative. They have selected Joy Harjo’s An American Sunrise as their Big Read title. An American Sunrise is a book of poetry and Harjo’s personal dialogue with history, as she revisits the homelands of her Native American ancestors 200 years after their forced removal.  It explores themes of family, grief, and injustice. We will be creating art inspired by Harjo's poems and Native American music.  All art materials supplied.  Please contact the library for a copy of this book prior to the art lab.  Refreshments will be served.  For more information contact the Ashtabula Library at 440-997-9341.

Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021 (4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.) – A Native American Story Time Conneaut Public Library

  • Families with children in Kindergarten thru 5th grade are invited to a Native American Story Time in November as part of the KSU Big Read program hosted at the Conneaut Public Library. With reading stories, singing songs, and an activity, children and their parents will learn about the Indigenous people. All those interested can sign up on https://www.conneaut.lib.oh.us/. For more information, contact our Youth Department by emailing outreach@conneaut.lib.oh.us.

Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021 (6:30 p.m.) – Poetry Workshop on Repetition Kent State University at Ashtabula Blue & Gold Room

  • Participants will learn about different types of repetition in poetry and look at examples of how repetition is used in Joy Harjo’s poetry. Then participants will complete writing activities to write their own poetry using repetition.

Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022 (6:30 p.m.) – “An American Sunrise” Book Discussion Kent State University at Ashtabula Blue & Gold Room

  • A brief introduction to Joy Harjo and her work will be followed by a discussion of Harjo’s collection An American Sunrise.

Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2022 (6:30 p.m.) – Poetry Workshop on Prose Poetry Kent State University at Ashtabula Main Hall Student Lounge

  • Participants will learn about the form of prose poetry and look at examples of Joy Harjo’s prose poetry. Then participants will complete writing activities to write their own prose poetry.       

Additional events may be added. 

For  more information about Kent State University’s participation in the Big Read, visit www.library.kent.edu/neabigread.

Kent State University is pleased to collaborate with the Massillon Museum to present parallel NEA Big Read projects. We encourage you to participate in programs offered by both institutions and their community partners. NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

POSTED: Friday, October 8, 2021 - 3:07pm
UPDATED: Friday, October 15, 2021 - 4:08pm
WRITTEN BY:
Kent State Ashtabula Communications and Marketing