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What Do You Believe A Poem Shd Do?

What Do You Believe A Poem Shd Do?

Ntozake Shange, Poet • Xenobia Bailey, Artist

About the Poet

Ntozake Shange was a poet, performance artist, playwright, and novelist. Her many books of poetry include "Ridin’ the Moon in Texas: Word Paintings" (1987); "From Okra to Greens" (1984); "Three Pieces" (1981), which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and "Nappy Edges" (1978). Among her plays are "Daddy Says" (1989); "Spell #7" (1985); "From Okra to Greens/A Different Kinda Love Story" (1983); "A Photograph: Lovers-in-Motion" (1981); and the renowned "for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf" (1977), which won an Obie Award and received Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award nominations.

She is also the author of multiple children’s books and prose works, including "Some Sing, Some Cry" (2010), "If I Can Cook You Know God Can" (1998), "See No Evil: Prefaces, Essays & Accounts, 1976-1983" (1984), "Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo: A Novel" (1982), and "The Black Book" (1986, with Robert Mapplethorpe). Among her numerous honors are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, and a Pushcart Prize. Shange died in 2018.

About the Artist

Xenobia Bailey studied ethno-musicology at the University of Washington and industrial design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She is known for her crocheted hats, large mandalas, and sculptural installations created form yarn. The 1960s-era music and materials, as in the tradition of African-American art and its material culture and design, inspire her work. At the new 34 St-Hudson Yards station, her mosaics soften the station’s contemporary architecture, providing travelers with a focal point, warmth and cause for celebration.

"Funktional Vibrations" is made from majestic glass mosaics suspended above the main entrance and its overlapping mandala-like circles and patterns against a cobalt blue background are also found in a ceiling dome at the mezzanine level. Bailey’s artwork is vibrant, joyous and rich with pattern and texture.

"What Do You Believe A Poem Shd Do?" read by Anna Deavere Smith