Special Event


Sam Cornish Poetry Award: Elizabeth McKim and Askia Touré

Longfellow House Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site



Dates & Times


Sunday, August 7, 2022


3:00 PM


1 hour

Type of Event



Elizabeth Gordon McKim is a poet, teacher, and spoken word artist, whose roots are embedded in the oral tradition of song, story and chant. Born in Hartford Connecticut in 1938, she has authored six collections of poetry, including The Red Thread (2003) and Lovers in the Free Fall (2020). She is the poet laureate of the European Graduate School for Expressive Arts, and is affectionately known as the Jazz Poet of Lynn. McKim’s poetry is both local and global, inclusive, wide ranging, incisive, freedom-seeking, bluesy, jazzy, spirited and streetwise. She inspires and has been inspired by poets and writers of diverse ages, traditions, and cultures. She engages with language making, origin stories, works of the imagination and the pressing issues of our life and times. She throws out the life-line in long chanting lines, and brings it back home in the compression of a haiku.

Askia M. Touré is one of the pioneers of the Black Arts/Black Aesthetics movement and the Africana Studies movement. A co-founding Architect of the eminent Black Arts Movement, Mr. Touré revolutionized African-American literature with the creation of an ethnic-based Aesthetic. In 1967/68, at San Francisco State University, he taught African history in the first Africana Studies program located at a majority university. Ishmael Reed has called Askia Touré “the unsung poet laureate of cosmopolitan Black Nationalism.” His books include From the Pyramids to the Projects, winner of the 1989 American Book Award for Literature; African Affirmations: Songs for Patriots: New Poems, 1994 to 2004, and Mother Earth Responds. In 1996, he was awarded the prestigious Gwendolyn Brooks Lifetime Achievement award from the Gwendolyn Brooks Institute in Chicago. His screenplay for “Double Dutch: A Gathering of Women,” won the 2003 Roxbury International Film Festival Best Director Award. Since August 2019, Mr. Touré has been reading with the Makanda Orchestra, beginning with a celebration of the South African musician Ndikho Xaba.

The Longfellow Summer Festival is a tradition nearly as old as the national historic site itself. Join us in celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2022! This annual festival brings music, poetry, and community to the East Lawn of the Longfellow House on Sunday afternoons through the summer. The 2022 Summer Festival will kick off on Sunday, June 5. All events are free and open to the public.

The series is co-sponsored by the Friends of Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters, the New England Poetry Club, and Berklee College of Music.

More information

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