Kurtis Lamkin

KURTIS LAMKIN is a contemporary American embodiment of the ancient West African griot tradition, which blurs the boundaries between poet, singer and storyteller.  When he performs, Lamkin often accompanies himself on the kora, a twenty-one-stringed West African harp-lute.  He not only composes on and plays the kora, but he makes them by hand.  This sense of the intimate bond between performer and instrument is also part of the griot tradition.  In the griot/bardic tradition, there is no debate.  The poet is seen as someone directly involved in the life of the community, and commentary on events that impact the community is not only accepted, but expected.  Like Lamkin, the griots and bards of the past always performed this function with biting satire and wit.  Lamkin has released a number of CDs of his work, including: My Juju (1995), El Shabazz (1998), Queen of Carolina (2001).  His newest CD is Kora Songs


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9:30-10:45 am
Welcome & Reading and Conversation
Kurtis Lamkin, Dorianne Laux, Taylor Mali
Prudential Hall

Conversation: From Homer to Hip-Hop: Poetry and the Oral Tradition
Juan Felipe Herrera, Kurtis Lamkin, Taylor Mali, Rachel McKibbens
Chase Room

Richard Blanco, Eavan Boland, Henri Cole, Sharon Dolin, Nikky Finney, Terrance Hayes, Juan Felipe Herrera, Jane Hirshfield, Fanny Howe, Kurtis Lamkin, Dorianne Laux, Ada Limón, Thomas Lux, Rachel McKibbens, Taylor Mali, Joseph Millar, Idra Novey, Gregory Orr, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Patricia Smith, Arthur Sze, Larissa Szporluk, Natasha Trethewey, C.K. Williams, Raúl Zurita
Prudential Hall


Poets on Poetry
Kurtis Lamkin
CAE Auditorium

Festival Poet Readings
Richard Blanco, Kurtis Lamkin, Dorianne Laux, Ada Limón, Natasha Trethewey
Prudential Hall

Readings & Music
Terrance Hayes, Thomas Lux, Fanny Howe, Jane Hirshfield, Kurtis Lamkin
Prudential Hall


In Praise: Music and Poetry
Kurtis Lamkin, Jane Hirshfield, Newark Boys Chorus
Prudential Hall

Conversation: From Homer to Hip Hop/Poetry and the Oral Tradition
Kurtis Lamkin, Rachel McKibbens, Taylor Mali, Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Victoria Theater


Shuffle, Cramproll, Paradiddle and Stomp
Ras, Baraka, Juan Felipe Herrera, Kurtis Lamkin, Rachel McKibbens, with dancer Maurice Chestnut
Victoria Theater

Conversation: American Poetries
Sharon Dolin, Kurtis Lamkin, Ada Limón, C. K. Williams
Newark Museum