Written by Natalie S. ’23
Last week, the Walker’s community welcomed distinguished author, playwright, educator, and first Poet-In-Residence at the Lincoln Center Mahogany L. Browne as our Fall 2022 Visiting Writer. Browne is the author of recent works Vinyl Moon, Chlorine Sky, I Remember Death by Its Proximity to What I Love, and Black Girl Magic. Mahogany L. Browne impacted everyone on campus, whether it was while visiting English classes, giving her all-school address, or performing Black Girl Magic at her reading on Friday night.
Fellow student in the Visiting Writer Seminar Grace M. ‘23 said, “The way that Mahogany connects with young women is so special. In every class she visited, she engaged and interacted with us. It was a very authentic visit.” Throughout the week she was able to connect with students’ thoughts and emotions. She made us feel that “we are enough and we belong here,” (Browne). She loved that we all found connections to various characters in her novels. Another student in the Visiting Writer Seminar, Charlotte B. ‘23, said, “She’s so real.” Mahogany L. Browne taught us that imperfection is perfection, and by not focusing on perfection you connect with your audience more. This proved to be true when Browne’s ability to go “off-script” with ease during her reading resulted in the audience being more engaged and hanging on to her every word. Also by not focusing on perfection, you can get your point across effectively. Browne mentioned this in class with the Visiting Writer Seminar: “I gotta say what I gotta say, and I’ll pick up the pieces later.”
Browne makes sure her voice is heard through the art form of poetry. She stressed that poetry is her superpower. Browne taught students how to utilize poetry to tell their story and advocate for topics they care about. Throughout the week, she facilitated writing workshops to give students the tools to make poetry their superpower. Whether they share their work or keep it private, students felt more confident taking risks in their writing and illustrating their feelings through the lens of poetry.
Mahogany L. Browne’s impact did not end with her visit. The Visiting Writer Seminar is creating a class anthology of works inspired by Browne. This collection will be published over winter break.
Our upcoming Spring 2023 Visiting Writer is 24th U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón. She will be joining us on campus during the week of April 9, 2023.