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The Folger Spotlight

ENCORES: 'Cave Canem Drops the Mic' with Kamilah Aisha Moon (2016)

Folger ENCORES, red theater seats fading into darkness
Folger ENCORES, red theater seats fading into darkness

Folger Public Programs is pleased to present ENCORES, a weekly online series highlighting past performances and recalling the rich history of programming on the historic Folger stage. As many arts and cultural institutions remain closed during this time, these ENCORES provide a way to connect and revisit the breadth of Folger offerings with a wider audience.

ENCORES presents

O.B. Hardison Poetry Series
Cave Canem Drops the Mic
with Kamilah Aisha Moon
June 2016
Associated with
Lineage: From the Black Arts Movement to Cave Canem
Learn more about this reading on Folgerpedia

Kamilah Aisha Moon read her poems

  • Perfect Form
  • Shared Plight
  • To Théma, Almost Two Years After Your Burial
  • Still Life as Rocket: 42

All from Starshine & Clay, published by Four Star Book in 2017.

To listen to the full audio from the reading, visit us on SoundCloud.

Read the introduction by poet Rachel Eliza Griffiths:

Hello, and welcome to Folger Encores. I’m Rachel Eliza Griffiths and I’m happy to be able to speak with you today. The Folger has been sharing selections from their plays, music, and readings with you in this Encores series. Today we are joining together to speak about the poet and my closest friend, Kamilah Aisha Moon.

Several years ago, the O.B. Hardison poetry season honored the 50th anniversary of the Black Arts Movement and the 20th anniversary of Cave Canem. Cave Canem is a creative home for many voices of Black poetry. To celebrate these dual momentous anniversaries, more than twelve poets came together for an all day festival of words. Poets like Toi Derricotte, Nikki Giovanni, Haki Madhubuti, and Sonia Sanchez, joined with Gregory Pardlo, Kyle Dargan, and myself to share this word. We also had a freestyle poetry reading called Cave Canem Drops the Mic. It was an afternoon-long, open mic reading that included Joel Dias-Porter, Jacqueline Johnson, Sharon Dennis Wyeth, and my dear sister, Kamilah Aisha Moon.

Kamilah sadly passed away in September of this year. She is deeply missed by our community. We are grieving and celebrating the beautiful, generous, gracious woman she was. She was my closest friend, and I would never have learned about Cave Canem if it hadn’t been for meeting Kamilah in my first year as a graduate student at Sarah Lawrence College. Over many years, we formed a sisterhood that traveled in this beautiful, powerful way of becoming Black poets together, sharing laughter, sharing questions about our poetics and our crafts and our vision, and how significant and powerful and important it was to us as Black women to celebrate ourselves in community with our brothers and sisters at the Folger, at Cave Canem, at, you know, anywhere we could, living rooms, open mics. We would go everywhere. And so this was a very memorable time, when this event took place, because we were at a point where we were just so excited. And so as this new time happens, I hope that people will return to her work and celebrate her and continue to carry her name and the excellence of her poetry with them and share it and teach it to others.

So enjoy this taste of Cave Canem Drops the Mic and Kamilah Aisha Moon. If you’d like to listen to the whole reading, we’ve included information about the performance that is available on SoundCloud for free. Please join us again for these biweekly episodes of Encores, highlighting all that the Folger has to offer. Thank you.

Encores LogoCheck back every other Friday for a new “from the archives” performance, introduced by some of our favorite artists, showcasing the best of Folger TheatreFolger ConsortO.B. Hardison Poetry, and lectures.