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Poetic Voices’ marks celebration of black history

‘Poetic Voices’ marks celebration of black history

PoeticVoicesPhoto Credit: Stephan StarnesAnna Marie Sprowl delivers one of her many poems to CRC students and staff at the Poetic Voices event on Feb 13.

Elizabeth Witt, Opinion Editorial Assistant

March 1, 2013
Filed under News

Students and staff trickled into the Recital Hall at Cosumnes River College to observe Black History Month through Poetic Voices, a poetry reading event held on Feb. 13 featuring three prominent and published writers whose roots are right here in Sacramento.

Emmanuel Sigauke, an English professor at CRC, organized the event for students, faculty and community members as an opportunity to celebrate African-American culture in a creative and expressive way.

“This is an honor for our Black History Month,” Sigauke said as he introduced Laura Cook, Anna Marie Sprowl and Sean King as the guest artists at this event. “Bringing them to CRC is a dream come true.”

In Sacramento, poetry events are held almost every night of the week and Sigauke wanted “to bring interesting, poetic voices to campus.”

As a preface to the guest speakers, Sigauke invited audience members to come up and share some of their own poetic work in a “mini-open mic” setting.

“I always want to involve the CRC students,” Sigauke said as he spoke to the crowd of more than 40 students and staff members, including CRC President Deborah Travis.

Alexander Stallings, a 19-year-old theater and radio broadcast major, was one of the students who shared his work at the beginning of the event.

“It gives more of an understanding of how important this is in African-American culture,” Stallings said. “It gives me inspiration.”

After students read their poetry, each guest spent about 15 minutes sharing their own work with the audience and left many members wanting more but still feeling inspired.

Each poet spoke of individual emotions, feelings and experiences.

King’s ending line in his poem about Martin Luther King Jr. was that “you cannot assassinate a spirit, you can only kill a man.” Cook advised to not “wander too long in other people’s darkness.”

Along with the historical and cultural insights, Poetic Voices also embodied emotional elements.

“Poetry is a passion,” said Alexis Senegal, a 26-year-old psychology major. “It has the ability to reach and connect and get attention, and that’s incredible.”

– See more at:

Poetry Reading on February 11, 2013 – Sacramento

Sean King, Anna Marie, Laura Cook, and Kelly Freeman


Sean King, Anna Marie, Laura Cook, and Kelly Freeman
Monday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 PM
Sacramento Poetry Center
1719 25th Street
Host: Emmanuel Sigauke

Sean King is a husband, a father, a writer, a published author, a spoken word artist, a computer geek, a community activist, a dreamer, and someone who loves life. He has performed on stages and in different venues across the country. He has three books of poetry (Through My Eyes IThrough My Eyes II, and Hypnogysms). He is mentor to numerous youth in the Northern California area. He is an extraordinary poet with a gift of word manipulation, splicing, wielding and other things outlawed by the U.N.

Anna Marie Sprowl has been writing and performing poetry for years. Her work ranges from the political to the domestic – her pieces provide both warmth and fire for the reader. Anna Marie’s poetry flows with a smooth style and grace; she fills both pages and stages with her life experiences. Never shy to self-expression, she seeks to see understanding in the eyes of her audience. Anna Marie has performed at The Show and Underground Books, as well as the Crocker Art Museum, The Guild Theater, and Jazz and Poetry 2010 and 2012 with the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet. She is the winner of the 2012 Super Love Jones Poetry Slam.

Laura Cook (immoBme) is the eldest daughter to Cynthia Robinson of “Sly and the Family Stone,” born in Sacramento, raised in Oak Park and possesses a few forgotten origins of MmaMmaAfrica. Her poetic tag “immoBme as.I.B.we” canopies much in journey, as she’s further sharin’ shaklez in homage to the goodness of God. She is one of Sacramento’s darlings.


Kelly Freeman is a Los Angeles native who began writing poetry at the age of 12. Her father was a poet and encouraged her to write and bought her first journal. She started performing on stage here in Sacramento ten years ago. She has also performed in Los Angeles, and the bay area. Kelly has been a featured artist at the Luna’s, The Guild Theater, Mahogany poetry series, Brown Sugar series, and the touring erotica show “The sweet spot”. She was recently featured at the Shine cafe and Pepperbellys and looks forward to performing more in the future. She is currently writing a book, but has put printing on hold so that she can add some of the works of her father whom she recently lost. It has always been her dream to share his poetry with the world.


Information Provided Courtesy of the Sacramento Poetry Center Site:

Author Unknown (Freewrite by Sean King)

I teach minds in the belly of the beast
reach souls in dark times
rescue spirits from their downward spiral
save children before their dreams are dashed
give hope to the hopeless
restore belief in the collective
resuscitate faith in love
with words,
author unknown

I am unseen
unheard of
not even a figment of the imagination,
shuffled from shelters to streets
streets to bridges
bridges to bus stops
bus stops to shadows,
from shadow to shadow
leaving nothing more
than words,
author unknown

I am a dreamer
bitten by dogs
beaten by batons
chased by hoods
hosed by hate
incarcerated by injustice
fighting for the freedom of humanity
from my jail cell
with words,
author unknown

I am a poet
the glimmer of light in darkness
the last hope for our kind
the unknown author of 1000 poems
that no one will read
unless I take 100 lives, or
rape 1000 dreams
to build my billion dollar empire,
only then will they care about my story
only then will they read my manifesto
of words,
author unknown

So much beauty gets missed because we only see the money maker and the murderer. ~ Sean King aka the Author Unknown


The Forgotten Poet