The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana will celebrate Black History Month during the annual Black History Month program on Wednesday, February 13, at noon. Poet John Warner Smith will discuss his work, Muhammad's Mountain, the first-ever book-length collection of poetry on the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali in the State Library’s Seminar Center located at 701 North 4th Street in Baton Rouge.
“Louisiana is one of the most diverse states in the nation, and we are so happy to be able to highlight the rich history of African-Americans in the United States,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “From the Caribbean islands immigrants to the Creole people who call Louisiana home, there is no shortage of the rich African-American culture here.”
Consisting of 45 poems, Muhammad's Mountain takes a poetic perspective in examining the life of Mohammed Ali, and in so doing examines the last half of the twentieth century through the significant events Ali witnessed during those turbulent times.
“We are proud to hold this annual event at the State Library celebrating black history and gleaning new insights and wisdom directly from members of the African-American community,” said Rebecca Hamilton, State Librarian of Louisiana. “It’s truly an honor to host such rich cultural programming presented for entirely for free.”
John Warner Smith, who calls Baton Rouge home, is the author of four collections of poetry: Muhammad’s Mountain, published by in 2018; Spirits of the Gods, in 2017; Soul Be A Witness, in 2016; and A Mandala of Hands in 2015. Smith’s fifth collection, Our Shut Eyes: New & Selected Poems on Race in America, is forthcoming in 2019.
The presentation is free and open to the public, and attendees are welcome to bring a “brown bag” lunch. Registration is not required. Books will be available for purchase from the author.