Black Spirits III: Poetry Reading by Desiree C. Bailey

Dark skin woman with hair tied up with striped cloth
Desiree C. Bailey (2021)
Portrait of Roni Gross wearing a log shaped hat
Roni Gross outdoors in a fun hat
Claudia Kaatziza Cortínez
Claudia Cortinez, 2020 Workspace Artist-in-Residence
Harmony Holiday (2021)

Event Info

Center for Book Arts’ Fall 2021 Online Broadside Reading Series wrapped up with a virtual reading by contemporary poet Desiree C. Bailey and the spirit of historic poet Kamau Brathwaite, moderated by the program’s curator, Harmony Holiday.

The experimental program also included the unveiling of two new limited edition broadsides, which were designed and printed by two by former CBA Book Artists-in-Residence: Roni Gross, who produced a broadside for Bailey, and Claudia Cortínez, who produced a broadside for the historic poet TBA. During the event, Cruz and Pentecost-Farren spoke to their inspiration and process for creating the broadsides.

About the Fall 2021 Program: Black Spirits

For the Fall 2021 Series, Holiday curated the program Black Spirits, which pairs the work of living poets with the audio and print archives of poets who have passed on.

Of Black Spirits, Holiday writes, “The tradition of call-and-response thrives when we call on it. So-called archives are not symbolic and by letting them read aloud and speak we bring them into resonance with the now where they can offer what Baraka once called ‘urgent messages for those who would be real.'”

Black Spirits I
Poets: Kyle Carrero Lopez & Amiri Baraka
Artists: Rhonda Khalifeh & Yusuf Hassan

Black Spirits II
Poets: Jayson P. Smith & Ai
Artists: Lizania Cruz & Alix Pentecost-Farren

Black Spirits III
Poets: Desiree C. Bailey & Historic Poet TBA
Artists: Roni Gross & Claudia Cortinez

About the Broadside Reading Series

CBA’s Broadside Readings Series program is a unique opportunity for poets and artists to collaborate. Every fall and spring season, CBA invites a poet who previously participated in the program to select poets for a new series of readings. CBA then commissions artists to collaborate with the participating poets to design and print for each of them a limited-edition broadside featuring their work. The broadsides are made available for sale to the public in-person and online in CBA’s bookshop.


This program was organized by Center for Book Arts and Harmony Holiday with funding provided in part by Poets & Writers through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Watch Now

Purchase Broadsides ($20 each)

Chant for the Water and Dirt and Blade–>

Desiree C. Bailey broadside designed and produced by Roni Gross.

Born to Slow Horses–>

Kamau Brathwaite broadside designed and produced by Claudia Cortinez.


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