Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts Announces The Big Read Events Planned This Fall

By Tom McLaughlin

This fall, the Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts will participate in The Big Read for the eighth year with Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine. The two-month celebration features a lecture series, art installation sites, storytelling programs, and more. A copy of Citizen: An American Lyric or an age-appropriate companion book will be given to each patron at all of the following events.

For a full listing of programs, visit To start your own Citizen: An American Lyric book group, call Noreen Scott Garrity at (856) 225-6306.


Family-Friendly Kick-Off Celebration

Saturday, Oct. 21, from 1 to 3 p.m. in Northgate Park, located at Sixth and Elm Streets in Camden. Everyone’s favorite storyteller, Kyle Jakubowski, a 2005 graduate of Rutgers–Camden, will delight listeners and lead art activities, including magnetic poetry and mural painting. The event will also feature book discussion group signups and giveaways. Each participant will receive a copy of Citizen: An American Lyric or an age-appropriate companion book.

Storytelling Program: “Tall Tales with Kyle J”

Friday, Nov. 3, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Nilsa I. Cruz Downtown Branch of the Camden County Library, located on Fifth Street on the Rutgers–Camden campus. Jakubowski will weave his delightful word magic and captivate children of all ages through interactive storytelling. The session will include several different stories adapted from picture books. The children help to tell the stories through call-and-response, creative movement, and other ways that provide engaged learning and encourage an interest in reading. This event is for ages 12 and under. Space is limited. To reserve a space, call Miranda Powell at (856) 225-6202.


Rutgers–Camden Faculty Lectures on Citizen: An American Lyric

Patrick Rosal

Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 11:30 a.m. in the Stedman Gallery, located in the Fine Arts Building on the Rutgers–Camden campus. Patrick Rosal, an associate professor of English at Rutgers–Camden, will deliver a lecture on Citizen: An American Lyric. The author of four full-length poetry collections, Rosal examines race and multiracial histories in his most recent work, Brooklyn Antediluvian, which earned the 2017 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets as the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States in the previous year. His poems and essays have been published widely in journals and anthologies, including The New York TimesTin House, New England Review, and The Best American Poetry.

Martin Rosenberg

Thursday, Oct. 19, at 12:45 p.m. in the Stedman Gallery. Martin Rosenberg, a professor of art history at Rutgers–Camden, will deliver a lecture on “Representations of Race in Art and Culture,” discussing the larger history and issues of race and representation. Rosenberg is a specialist in 18th- to 21th-century art theory, criticism, and practice, and feminist art history and art education. His books include Raphael and France: The Artist as Paradigm and Symbol (Penn State Press, 1995), and Gender Matters in Art Education, co-authored with Frances Thurber (Davis, 2007).

Gregory Pardlo

Thursday, Oct. 26, from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. in the Stedman Gallery. Gregory Pardlo, an assistant professor of English and a 1999 graduate of Rutgers–Camden, won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for his Poetry collection, Digest (Four Way Books). Digest was shortlisted for the 2015 NAACP Image Award and was a finalist for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award.

Keith Green – Citizen: An American Lyric in Historic Context

Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 11:30 a.m. in the Stedman Gallery. Keith Green, an associate professor of English and director of the Africana Studies program at Rutgers–Camden, will present Citizen: An American Lyric in historical context. Green’s research interests focuses on African American literature and, in particular, the study of the Antebellum era, self-referential writing, African-Native American literature, and slave narratives.


Magnetic Poetry

Nov. 7 to Dec. 9 at the Paul Robeson Library and Camden County Library’s Nilsa I. Cruz Downtown Branch, both located on Fifth Street on the Rutgers–Camden campus. Participants of all ages will have the opportunity to contribute to the growing magnetic poetry installations in both locations.

Citizen: An American Lyric Book Exhibition

Nov. 7 to Dec. 9 in the Paul Robeson Library. The Paul Robeson Library will feature a collection of books, biographies, and criticism related to Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric.

In partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, and in cooperation with Arts Midwest, The Big Read offers grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 to promote and carry out community-based programs.

Participating communities also receive high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials to supplement each title.

The Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts seeks to provide performances, exhibitions, education programs, and community projects, that inspire a full appreciation and enjoyment of the arts, create meaningful opportunities to participate in the arts, advance the central role of the arts in pre K-12 education, and increase awareness of the arts as essential to cultural, economic, and community vitality.

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