By Francesca Norsen Tate
St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church hosts a pre-Valentine event, bringing in poets and musicians to celebrate this vital aspect of living. The parish, which participated in the Brooklyn Book Festival, now presents Brooklyn’s Poet Laureate Tina Chang.
The audience will be invited to feast on words of love as Chang joins other local poets and musicians for “Tell Me About Love,” the first event under the banner of “The Forum at St. Ann’s. The Forum is a series of cultural programs designed to engage members of the larger community of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity in conversation about ideas, culture and civic life. St. Ann’s will invite authors, artists and performers whose work examines subjects that matter to modern people, such as immigration, climate change, gun violence, marriage equality and income inequality. Broad themes, including love and loss, will also be addressed through a range of media.
According to Tina Chang’s website, she is the first woman to be named as Poet Laureate of Brooklyn. She was raised in New York City and teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. She’s also an international faculty member at the City University at Hong Kong.
Chang is the author of the poetry collections Half-Lit Houses and Of Gods & Strangers (Four Way Books) and co-editor of the anthology Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia and Beyond (W.W. Norton, 2008) along with Nathalie Handal and Ravi Shankar. Her poems have appeared in American Poet, McSweeney’s, Ploughshares and The New York Times among others.
Chang’s work has also been anthologized in Identity Lessons, Poetry Nation, Asian American Literature and Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation, From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems and in Poetry 30: Poets in Their Thirties. She has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Poets & Writers and the Van Lier Foundation among others.
Joining Tina Chang around the table to share their work at Tell Me About Love are a host of celebrated authors, includingAriana Reines, Annie Lanzillotto, Ronna Lebo, Boni Joi, Joon Oluchi Lee and Billy Lopez. Members of the public are invited to bring short original or famous poems to read at the event.
Performances by musicians Ryan Hobler and Nick Balaban will round out the evening’s offerings. Light food and drink will be served.
“Tell Me About Love” begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, and takes place in the Parish Hall of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, 157 Montague St. just before Clinton. A suggested donation of $10.00 is requested to support St. Ann’s and parish outreach programs that address hunger and poverty locally and globally.