CCRI to host three celebrated local poets


Next week, the Community College of Rhode Island will host a free poetry reading with three celebrated local poets, including Sussy Santana, the first Latino recipient of the prestigious Rhode Island Foundation’s MacColl Johnson Fellowship.

Joining Santana will be Ghanaian-American poet Afua Ansong and Charles Kell, a published poet and CCRI Associate Professor of English.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 19, from 7-9 p.m. at CCRI’s Knight Campus (Room 4090) in Warwick.

Santana is a 2004 CCRI graduate whose poetry speaks to the bicultural immigrant experience of being caught between two cultures, her native country of the Dominican Republic and that of her adopted one of the United States.

She has published several books, including “Pelo Bueno and other poems” (2010) and “Domestic Poems” (2018). Her poems have been featured in a multitude of publications, and she is a 2015 recipient of the very prestigious MacColl Johnson Fellowship from the Rhode Island Foundation.

Ansong is a Ghanaian-American artist who writes poetry and teaches contemporary and traditional West African dance. A 2018 and 2015 BRIO recipient, she writes about the challenges of the African immigrant in the United States, exploring themes of transition, citizenship, and identity.

In her first published book of poems, “American Mercy,” Ansong searches deep within herself to uncover the meaning of being an immigrant and an American and how in her journey, she discovers that “making a person is like building a country or even a people.”

Kell recently published his first book of poems, “Cage of Lit Glass” (2018). The work engages themes of death, incarceration, drug use and family strife through a range of physical, emotional and philosophical spaces. The debut book received the 2018 Autumn House Poetry Prize.

The reading, organized by Kell, is meant to share common experiences with CCRI students and the larger community.

“With myself as a first-generation college student and Ansong and Santana writing from the immigrants’ experience, it is my goal to show students through our work that we all share experiences in life that they can relate to and learn from,” Kell said.

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