On Saturday, September 12th, attendees of BOA’s 23nd annual Dine & Rhyme fundraiser gathered together for BOA’s first virtual Dine & Rhyme, held on Zoom. The event celebrated the publication of How to Carry Water by outstanding, award-winning BOA poet Lucille Clifton, edited by acclaimed poet Aracelis Girmay, author of the black maria (BOA Editions, 2016), Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions, 2011) and Teeth (Curbstone Press, 2007).
Aracelis gave a heart-felt reading of selected Lucille Clifton poems, and was interviewed by Michael Silverblatt, host of the nationally-syndicated show Bookworm. Aracelis also appeared on Bookworm on September 17th and you can listen to that interview here. After the interview, our audience caught a premiere excerpt from the short documentary Lucille Clifton: A Poet’s Life and Legacy, produced by BOA Editions and local Rochester studio, Hunger Media. To end the evening, guests were treated to music by the Cornelius Eady Trio, including a musical rendition of Lucille Clifton’s poem, “let there be new flowering.”
Despite having to pivot from an in-person to a virtual event, Dine & Rhyme was a resounding success, including two exciting announcements: first, that Aracelis Girmay has agreed to serve as Editor-at-Large for BOA’s Blessing the Boats Selection books, which was named after Lucille Clifton’s National Book Award-winning collection of the same title, and uplifts the voices of female-identifying writers of colors. Aracelis will serve in this capacity for the next three years, selecting the poets to be honored and published. The second major announcement of the evening was to welcome talented poet and Rochester-native Cornelius Eady to its National Advisory Committee. We’re so grateful for the support and commitment these two amazing poets have made to BOA.
On behalf of BOA’s board and staff, we thank all of our generous event sponsors and donors, everyone who participated in our online silent auction, and all who attended Dine & Rhyme. We also thank Evan Dawson, host of WXXI’s Connections, for his insightful radio interview of BOA Publisher Peter Conners, Lucille Clifton’s daughter Sidney Clifton, Cornelius Eady, and Alison Meyers of Writers & Books in advance of the event.
Most of all, we thank Aracelis Girmay and Michael Silverblatt for generously promoting BOA’s mission to bring vital voices to a world of readers, and for holding Lucille Clifton’s work dear.