And as much as I love those poets, when I think of poetry – my mind immediately goes to Dr.Maya Angelou, who spent more than 30 years of her life right here in North Carolina, as a professor at Wake Forest University.
Throughout her career she acted, sang, danced, and directed – but she is most well known for her collection of seven autobiographies, which include some of my favorite poems + probably some of yours too. In fact, I Know Why the Caged Bird Singswas the first nonfiction bestseller by a Black woman.
In 1993, she was chosen as the Inaugural Poet where she read her poem On the Pulse of Morning for President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, which you may have watched live on television (or maybe you were in DC and saw it live? 😱 If so – please tell us all about it). She later won the Best Spoken Word Album Grammy for this poem.
Her life was incredible and yes, you could just read a quick bio about her online, but the way Dr. Angelou expressed + recounted her life experiences through her poetry is so much more vivid + exciting than any online search.
So, if you’re anything like me – then you know nothing says fall mood like picking up one of her books of poetry from a local bookstore like Malaprops Bookstore/CafeorFirestorm Books & Coffee + heading to a park for some time in this gorgeous October weather.
And don’t worry, once you get through Maya’s work, there are still plenty of works by Black poetsfrom North Carolina to read. My recommendations are Jaki Shelton Green— the first Black female Poet Laureate of NC — and Glenis Redmond, a founder of the youth slam movement, WordSlam, here in Asheville.
I also highly recommend checking out Word on the Street, a nonprofit that helps support creative journals published by young Black + Latinxwriters.
And before I go, I want to leave you with my favorite performance of my favorite Maya Angelou poem – Still I Rise, from the cult classic movie Beauty Shop, performed by Alfre Woodard. It makes me smile + laugh every time.
Happy reading, Asheville. 📚
What is your favorite Maya Angelou poem?
Whether it’s Caged Bird, Still I Rise, or When I Think About Myself, one thing’s for sure – she was a Phenomenal Woman.
Weather ○ 56º | A.M. Clouds, P.M. Sun | 20% chance of rain
Civic ○ Beginning Mon., Oct. 19, the Haywood Streetscape Project will see several updates. Over the week, milling will take place on Haywood from Page Ave. to Walnut and Battery Park. Expect traffic flagging + delays, with intermittent lane closures and one-way traffic. All on-street parking will be closed Mon. and Tues. 🚧
Politics ○ Vice Presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris canceled her Thurs. visit to Asheville yesterday after two of her staff members tested positive for coronavirus late Wed. night. (WLOS)
Asked ○ From light displays to inflatable ghouls, larger-than-life spiderwebs + porches with poltergeists – we’re on the hunt for the spookiest scenes in Asheville. 🔍 What homes, neighborhoods, or businesses have the best Halloween decorations? It can be your own or one you’ve spotted around town. Let us know. It’d be a real treat if you include details about the decor – or better yet, a picture.🕷
Vote ○ Wanna know what lines look like in your area before you head out to cast your ballot? Check out this resource from Buncombe County, which shows the dates + times you can vote early, as well as real-time updates with the number of voters in line + more. 👀
Coronavirus ○ Check out the latest COVID-19 stats for NC from the Department of Health and Human Serviceshere. As of Thursday afternoon, 3,674 cases and 93 deaths have been reported in Buncombe County.
Volunteer ○ The Southern Living Idea Houseopened for tours yesterday + they are looking for volunteers to work three hour shifts to guide guests to the houses. Asheville Habitatis the non-profit partner and will be receiving proceeds from the ticket sales, which will be used to build a local Habitat home. A perk if you help out? Volunteers get a free tour. Sign up here. 🏡
Watch ○ Cruise into your weekend with “What I Really Want,” the first single from local musician Juan Holladay’s new album Bouquet. The just-released video directed by Nathan Metcalf features aerial footage of Asheville, Johnson City, and Jonesborough, TN, and areas around the NC/TN state line, and the track includes guest performances from Ashevillians Sebastian Campaign + Lady Laine. Bouquet drops on Oct. 30. 🎸
Down dog will be leading a yoga class at 10:30 a.m., along the Swannanoa River + then Mountain Pet Rescue AVL will bring some pups + talk about their adoption + foster programs. And if that wasn’t enough good news, Sabora Food Truck will also be there for you to grab some delicious burgers and sandwiches. 🍔
The event is free + open to the public.
#DYK that your photo could be featured in our newsletter? Just use #AVLtoday on social media.
Show ○ Songs From The Road Band| Fri., Oct. 16 | 5-10 p.m. | One World Brewing West, 520 Haywood Rd. | $10 | Award winning bluegrass band Songs From The Road will play on One World West’s patio. 🎻 ○ Phuncle Sam| Fri., Oct. 16 | 5 p.m. | Salvage Station, 468 Riverside Drive | $5 | Asheville’s premier Dead-Centric jam band performs by the French Broad river. 🎶
Film ○ Cider Cinema: Hocus Pocus| Fri., Oct. 16 | 6:30-10 p.m. | Bold Rock Hard Cider, 72 School House Rd., Mills River | Free | Enjoy the classic film on the big screen. Food + popcorn will be available for purchase. 🎥
Saturday ○ Asheville’s Monuments: Past, Present, + Future Webinar| Sat.,Oct. 17 | 4-5:30 p.m. | Virtual | $5 | The Western North Carolina Historical Association discusses monuments and commemoration in Asheville. 🎤 ○ Nature at Night: Fall Night Hike| Sat., Oct. 17 | 7:30-9:30 p.m. | Chimney Rock State Park, 431 Main St., Chimney Rock | Ticket prices vary | Marvel at Chimney Rock after sundown during this autumn nighttime excursion, led by a Park naturalist. Bring a headlamp or flashlight + dress warmly. ⛰️ ○ Thomas Wolfe 8K|Sat.,Oct. 17 | 9-11 a.m. | Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site, 52 N. Market St. | $35 | The 44th annual Thomas Wolfe 8K highlights historic Asheville sites. Bonus: When you finish, grab a free beer or hard seltzer from Catawba Brewing. 👟
Sunday ○ Drag Brunch| Sun., Oct. 18 | 11 a.m.-2 p.m. | Hi-Wire Brewing, 2B Huntsman Pl. | $15 | Enjoy the art of drag with a special brunch menu from Foothills Local Meats. 🌈 ○ Angel Tree Sign Ups| Sun., Oct. 18 | 11 a.m.-2 p.m. | Various Locations, Salvation Army Event | Donation | Anonymous donors adopt + put toys, clothes + more under the tree for children that usually go without Christmas gifts. 🎄 ○ The Pearl Snap Prophets | Sun., Oct. 18 | 7 p.m. | The Grey Eagle Music Hall + Pub 185 Clingman Ave. | $10 | Sit out on The Grey Eagle’s Patio + enjoy storytelling folk music + outlaw country. 🎸
Find more of this week’s local events in our October PlanAhead.
Disclaimer: It is up to readers’ discretion to determine whether they feel comfortable participating in any mentioned events based on COVID-19 protocols and precautions. If you have questions, please contact the event’s organizers directly.