Tony Medina, Yona Harvey share their poems with SU

Tony Medina and Yona Harvey came to Shippensburg University to read their poetry on March 29.

The poetry reading was held in Old Main Chapel and was sponsored by “The Reflector,” Shippensburg’s literary magazine; the english department; the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and the Women’s Center.

Juniors Erica McKinnon and Carragher had the honor of introducing Medina and Harvey. 

Harvey is an American poet and assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of her own poetry collection, “Hemming the Water,” and “Marvel’s Black Panther: World of Wakanda.” Harvey is one of two African-American writers for Marvel. 

Harvey bases her poetry on her children as well as the importance of standing out and being proud of who you are despite others’ criticisms.

One of her poems, “Hurricane” is about her daughter. Her daughter was born in 2005 in the time of Hurricane Katrina, which is where the name of the poem stemmed from. A couple years later the family went to a fair, which had a ride called Hurricane. No one wanted to ride it except her daughter, so she rode it alone. 

Harvey read from her poem, “She turns — latched in the seat / of a hurricane. You let you girl what? You let / your girl what?”

Medina is a two-time winner of the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People and a professor at Howard University. He is the author of several books, including “The Onion of Wars” and “My Old Man was Always on a Lam.” Medina often writes about the struggles he faced while growing up in the Bronx Borough of New York City.

In his book “The Onion of Wars,” Medina has a section that is titled “Letters to Santa.” In “Letters to Santa he wrote in the voices of kids and teens who were asking Santa Claus for things like a home or money for their parents for Christmas, instead of gifts for themselves. 

His last letter in the poem is from Obama. One of the verses in the letter read, “They don’t want to tax the rich, even though / a lot of those tea tocking sheep humpers are poor as rabbit s***.”

After both poets shared with works with students and Shippensburg community, the evening ended with a meet-and-greet and a book signing. 

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