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Jazz Poetry 2024: Rakiem Walker Quartet, grace (ge) gilbert, Ladan Osman, Anouar Rahmani, & Astrid Roemer

May 9 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

Experience “the ultimate authentic sound from Harlem” with Rakiem Walker as he and his quartet fuse jazz, soul, and hip hop to create their unique sound. Rakiem will collaborate with four poets: finalist for the 2020 Emerging Poet Laureate of Allegheny County grace (ge) gilbert, winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Ladan Osman, author of four novels in Arabic and City of Asylum writer-in-residence Anouar Rahmani, and Astrid Roemer, winner of the Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren, the most prestigious prize for Dutch writers. Astrid’s performance is presented in partnership with The Center for the Art of Translation in San Francisco.

Each Jazz Poetry program begins with a 40-minute performance by the band, followed by 30 minutes of collaborative performance with the featured poets. In these collaborations, poets share their work while the musicians interpret and accompany their poetry with jazz, adding a unique, improvisational dimension to each performance.

Featured Musicians:

Rakiem Walker: saxophone

Anthony Longobardi: drums

Jamal Peoples: keys

Gloria Ry’ann: vocals

About the Musician:

The Rakiem Walker Project (RWP) is a collective of musicians and vocalists that has developed a renowned signature sound well known in the New York City Tri-state area. RWP is an organization of musicians that have thirsted for a community of musical like-mindedness led by Rakiem Walker and lead vocalist GLR¥A. Rakiem Walker has been the music director for Teddy Riley, Camron, Eric Benet, Melba Moore, Freddie Jackson, CL Smooth, and Timbuktu among many others. Rakiem has worked with and played saxophone for Roy Ayers, Gil Scott Heron, The RZA, SWV, Keith Sweat, Dipset, Lehman College graduate big band, etc. He is a voting member of the Recording Academy and possesses his own label, Walker Entertainment Group (WEG), distributed by SONY ORCHARD.

About the Poets:

grace (ge) gilbert (they/them) is the author of holly, a book of hybrid poetry, memoir, and collage, forthcoming with YesYes Books in 2025. grace’s recent work has been featured in Foglifter, the Indiana Review, and Passages North among other places. They teach at the University of Pittsburgh, Brooklyn Poets, and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

Ladan Osman is the author of Exiles of Eden, winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and a Whiting Award, and The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony, winner of the Sillerman Prize. Ladan’s poetry has been translated into over 10 languages. Her images were exhibited by Jenkins Johnson Gallery, Arts Incubator, Furious Flower, and the New York African Film Festival. Her work as a director includes: The Ascendants, Just Sam, and Sun of the Soil. She lives in New York.

Anouar Rahmani is a writer and human rights defender from Algeria. He is the author of four novels in Arabic, including Hallucinations of Jibril and What God is Hiding from Us. Through his creative writing, journalism, and activism, Anouar advocates for individual freedoms, environmental rights, and the rights of minorities, women, and the LGBT+ community. In 2015, he was the first person to publicly demand same-sex marriage be legalized in Algeria. Anouar holds a License in Public Law and a Master’s in State and Institutional Law from the University of Morsli Abdallah. During the 2019 Algerian Revolution, he composed a new model for the Algerian constitution. Anouar has received support from PEN International during instances of judicial harassment he faced in Algeria due to his activism, novels, and journalism. In 2021, he was shortlisted for the Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Awards and selected by the German Bundestag’s Protection Program “Parliamentarians for Parliamentarians.” Anouar is an Artist Protection Fund Fellow in residence at Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Modern Languages and writer-in-residence at City of Asylum since 2022.

Astrid Roemer emigrated from Suriname to the Netherlands in 1966, at the age of 19. She identifies herself as a cosmopolitan writer. Exploring themes of race, gender, family, and identity, her poetic, unconventional prose stands in the tradition of authors such as Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. She was awarded the P.C. Hooft Prize in 2016, and the three-yearly Dutch Literature Prize (Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren) in 2021.

About Your Visit: 

Doors open at 6pm. 

The in-house restaurant 40 North is open for dinner from 5-9pm. Please visit Open Table or call 412-435-1111 to make a reservation.

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May 9
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
Program Categories:


Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh,PA15212United States
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