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Panel discussion to come to the library 

The Suffolk Public Library is hosting “Open Your Eyes,” live at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 16 on the library’s Facebook page.

“Open Your Eyes” is part of the Lift Every Voice: Why African American Poetry Matters grant Suffolk Public Library received in the spring from the Library of America Foundation. This grant was given to initiate two programs that explore the African American poetry tradition. The library will also receive a copy of “African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song,” an anthology published by the Library of America.

“With the current state of the country, it is important to provide platforms for folks to have conversations about the Black American experience,” says Tiffany Duck, the manager of library locations. “In communities of color, poetry has always served as an important vehicle for self-expression, to communicate, to educate, and share ideas.”

During this program, three local poets will form a panel to discuss the Black experience and how it is reflected in poetry and other works, including “Malcolm X” by Gwendolyn Brooks and “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes. The panelists include Nathan Richardson, Sylvia Bond and Kween Yakini.

Nathan Richardson is a published author, performance poet, and Frederick Douglass historian that many may know from his Poetry, Prose & Pizza Open Mic series at the Suffolk Art Gallery and his performances as Douglass. His poetry collections include “Likeness of Being,” “Twenty-one Imaginary T-shirts,” and “Voices from the Wombs of Wisdom.”

Sylvia Bond is a former teacher for the Suffolk Public Schools who retired after 37 years. She is the published author of a book of inspirational poems, “Verses from the Heart,” and a children’s book, “Robbie’s First Trip to the Zoo.”

Sharran C. Taylor, also known as Kween Yakini, is an indie author and a seasoned spoken word artist. Her published collections are “Woke: A Poetic Journey,” and “Ode To The Punani: Sensual Rising.”

For those unable to tune in live that Friday night, the library will post a recorded version on its Facebook page and YouTube channel.