weekend links: Danez Smith, Morgan Parker, Sonnenzimmer

 Sonnenzimmer,  Knuckles [.cava]  (2017).  Image courtesy  Glasstire.

Sonnenzimmer, Knuckles [.cava] (2017). Image courtesy Glasstire.

“Every poem is political,” claims Danez Smith, author of the bestselling Don’t Call Us Dead. In addition to his page poetry, Smith maintains a slam poetry career, and his poem “Dear White America” has over 320,000 views. In this introduction to Smith, he discusses his beginnings, how he came to be a poet, and his aspiration for Trump to move poets who have long thought of poetry as apolitical. [The Guardian]

With the premiere of Black Panther just around the corner, it was recently announced that rap label TDE will be in charge of executive producing the movie’s soundtrack. Along with highlighting artists from the label, TDE has decided to give lesser known artists their big moment. The tracklist is riddled with raw talent from the underground, and so you can anticipate what’s to come, we have the list of who’s who and their current released work here. [DJ Booth]

Third Root, Austin’s highly educated rap trio, are persistent with educating both in classrooms and on their hip hop tracks. DJ Chicken George, one-third of the group, says that it’s their duty to speak on themes such as social justice and issues concerning people of color in their music. In the near future, Third Root will be performing cuts from their latest album, Libertad, at the Austin Music Awards, and we can’t wait to see what the groovy innovators have in store. [Austin Chronicle]

Yesterday was World Read Aloud Day, and to celebrate, LitWorld and Scholastic teamed up to offer online resources for teachers and parents to encourage read-aloud events at schools and homes. Ron Charles, book critic and editor, shared a touching story about how he reads to his wife every day. If you want restored faith in the significance of books and humanity, look no further than here. [Washington Post]

To start Black History Month with a bang, Penguin Classics announced that they will be restoring six books by African American writers. The publication chose W. E. B. DuBois’ infamous The Souls of Black Folk along with five other works that were made possible by the Harlem Renaissance. This is great news for anyone that wants to learn about race and identity politics through the African American lens and especially good for anyone looking to be enlightened on problems the black community faced in the 20th century (and continue to face).  [NPR]

Emerging visual artist Matt Browning took the idea to make art out of zinc and ran with it. In his new exhibition, Moving Metal, Browning displays “rectangular prisms [or plinths], side by side, constructed by an open framework of thin oak strips... [with one] topped with a steel panel that has been splatter-coated by heating up pennies until their inner zinc bursts through their copper shells.” Browning draws inspiration from early expressionists and continues to forge his career forward with nostalgic-yet-fresh depictions of Seattle life. [The Stranger]

A self-described poet, teacher, bathtub enthusiast, and author of a Beyoncé-themed collection regarding depression and multiplicity, Morgan Parker took time out of her multi-hyphenated schedule to discuss her takes on poetry, Black America, and ethnography. As an avid reader and admirer of Parker’s work, her eloquence, charisma and poetics is something hard to not love. [The Rumpus]

After a year of renovations, Philadelphia “LOVE” sculpture is back just in time for Valentine’s Day. Here we learn how the sculpture came to be, the reasoning behind its updates throughout its 40-year history, and how its popularity across the world has spawned replicas and selfies galore. [The New York Times]

Houston visual artist Francesca Fuchs has been in the city’s arts scene for at least the past 20 years, but never before has she worked with a canvas so large and pivotal in her career. Her new mural, North Exterior Wall, signifies a departure from her comfort zone as well as an interaction of the art with the venue. Through October 2018, the entire north side of the Lawndale Art Center will be a display for Fuchs’s work, and by the looks of this, her leap to the impermanent nature of wall painting succeeded. [Arts and Culture TX]

Austinites, if you haven't yet, check out Café Avatar, the new exhibit from Nick Butcher & Nadine Nakanishi (a.k.a. Sonnenzimmer) over at grayDUCK Gallery, on view through February 18. Featuring beautiful screen printed works on felt, bags, and concrete bananas, the show is a playful exploration of technology and a highlight of Print Austin. [Glasstire]

—Nia KB

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