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2017-02/19 From Harlem Renaissance to Hip Hop: A Celebration of Black History Month–Poem-Making with Jim Moreno

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Jim Moreno counts his 8 years with the Langston Hughes Poetry Circle (LHPC) at Malcolm X Library as some of the most meaningful literary times of his life.  As the result of that visibility he was able to know local poets the  likes of Eusi and Tchaiko Kwayana, Jihmye Collins, Sharon Elise, RegE Gaines, Ant Black, Rudy Francisco, Theresa F., Gill Sotu and others. 

     Moreno was able to assist the LHPC to bring Amiri Baraka to San Diego twice for readings.  At one of those readings Baraka, Troupe, and Fox shared the podium for a thunderous social justice/existential reading.  “Being around those incredible poets made me a better writer.”, he exclaimed.

      Jim wanted to facilitate this workshop because he’s been inspired by the poems and lives of  June Jordan, Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, Troupe, Baraka and others in a three hour heart, blues and soul honoring of our Black brothers and sisters.  “It’s Black History Month and we have leadership in this country proposing limitations on our freedoms that are precedented by policies from the times of slavery.  The children of slaves who were sent off on errands without a pass and were intercepted by slave patrols were beaten because they didn’t have documentation.  It was that type of brutality that motivated  Nat Turner to lead a revolt in Virginia in 1831.  We writers reject that type of brutal racism and oppression with our pens.”, reflected Moreno, the great grandson of an immigrant.

       Jim Moreno wants the last hour of this poetry writing workshop to honor the cutting edge truth, originality, and brilliance of Hip Hop.  Video of local Hip Hop poets Jerrica Escoto, Black, Francisco, and national stars Gina Loring, Daniel Beatty, and Asia Samson will round out the workshop and influence and inspire poems in beginning and seasoned writers.  “One culture healing another is the opposite of racism and the polar opposite of ignorance and hate.” But one genre, one generation, can influence & inspire another by inviting the writer to stretch and grow.  A younger generation can help an older generation out of a rut and into a groove.  That’s what Hip Hop does for me”, commented Moreno.

       If you are looking for a critique group don’t sign up for this exercise in creative poetry writing in a safe environment.  This workshop is designed to be a path to find and amplify voice in the young and the seasoned in a Container of safety and respect.  Check your ego’s at the door, only hearts of kindness, respect, and searching will be comfortable here.

     Jim Moreno is the author of  Dancing in Dissent: Poetry For Activism, (Dolphin Calling Press, 2007) and two cd’s of music and poetry.  He is a Teaching Artist  and on the Program Committee with San Diego Writers, Ink.  Jim  has studied with Steve Kowit, RegE Gaines, D.J. Watson, Willie Perdomo, Judy Reeves, John Fox, and G. Lynne Nelson. Moreno is  on the Advisory Board of the Poetic Medicine Institute in Palo Alto, California.  He  is a Regional Editor with the San Diego Poetry Annual and a Teaching Artist with Arts 4 Learning.  You can hear his interviews on Poets Corner with KNSJ, 89.1 FM and on San Diego weekday mornings at 11:00 A.M.  Jim hosts 2nd Tuesday-Jihmye Poetry at the Cafe Cabaret, an open mic for spoken word.  Contact him at

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