Bring poems, rap and more to African American Read-In

Author Teffanie White will read from her novel

Author Teffanie White will read from her novel “Dirt” at the Feb. 22 African American Read-In that will be presented in Room MB2110 Student Success Center from 10 a.m. -2 p.m. Fingertip sandwiches, food and beverages will be provided.

Staff Reports , Staff Reports

“Leaning back against a giant tree trunk, I slid to the ground under towering East Texas trees. When staring up, light dots darted through loosely plaited branches.
I relaxed in silence far from the Thompson comedy show. Rust-colored dirt covered my socks and shoes. I wondered when Mom would notice my disappearance. I should not have left. I reached into my backpack to grab my game, and stopped. If I read, at least I would have an excuse for leaving. I grabbed the book instead.
I read.”
The preceding pivotal passage is from the 2016 novel “Dirt” by Teffanie Thompson White. It reveals the character of a young man (who detests reading) and is thrown into a new world. Part magical realism and part harsh reality, the novel depicts issues of literacy, the enslavement of ancestors, and the earthy grounding of red dirt, according to Myra Salcedo, chair of the event, and senior lecturer at UTPB.
Midlander Teffanie White is scheduled—along with other African American writers and poets—to read from her novel during the University of Texas of the Permian Basin’s Second Annual national “African America Read-in” 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22 in the UTPB Success Center Gameroom, on the second floor of the Mesa Building, Room 2110. The event is being conducted as a local presentation of part of the National Council of Teachers and Educators (NCTE’s) month-long program that celebrates the works of African American authors for Black History Month. This is a come-and-go event. Students can read from private or personal works. Some poems and books will be provided. All ethnicities will be honored. Rap, poetry and longer written works will be available to read from. There will be finger-tip sandwiches and a mini-buffet provided. Free bookmarks will be distributed. Participants can read from a microphone for a few minutes, and are welcome to stay as long as they can.
In addition, Odessa poet Loretta Diane Walker, and national Phyllis Wheatley Award winner, will read from her works. Walker earned the 2016 award for her book “In This House.” She has been a long-time music educator at Reagan Elementary School in Odessa. She has also garnered five Pushcart prize nominations and the Blue Light Press Award for her collection of poems “World Ghetto,” published in 2011.
Also reading from her works will be Cynthia Conner Goyang, the author of Just One Touch, a 2013 novel with the abstract of: “What might this woman’s life have been like prior to her years of suffering from this ailment? What would she have endured during the years of her infirmity? How would she have felt as she forced her way through the crowd to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment? How might her life have been affected afterwards? Meet Sapira, a woman of striking beauty from humble beginnings. She emerges by means of marriage to a life of luxury. After many unfortunate events, Sapira loses everything–her family, her place in the community, her wealth, and her health until the day she pushes forward to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment.” Ms. Goyang’s writing has also appeared in “Guidepost Magazine” and appeared in “Angels On Earth Magazine.” She is writing a contemporary novel, “3 Nights in Mannford.”
Last year, more than 65 students, staff, faculty, and authors read during the four-hour marathon. A sign-up sheet will be provided for students who can receive extra credit in English, Sociology, History or other disciplines. In the spirit of diversity, last year all participants were encouraged to read from their own ethnic literature, including Irish works, and more. The event is sponsored by the University’s Success Center, and the Literature and Languages Department.
• 10 a.m.-10:05: Opening Remarks, UTPB, Dr. Myra Salcedo
• 10:05-10:30 a.m.¬¬—Teffanie White, author of Dirt
• 11 a.m. to noon—Loretta Diane Walker.
• Noon—Cynthia Conner Goyang
• 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., students, faculty and staff
“As many a college student can attest to, finding time to read for pleasure can be challenging, and many students only have time to read textbooks or notes. Others still just don’t seem to enjoy the activity or understand why it’s so important. That is the mindset that the read-in is challenging,” said UTPB student Bernadette Adkins.
“I would love for them [students] to know the impact of how literature works, beyond assignments and textbooks,” said Jasmine Tambunga, Director of the Success Center. “This event is having students reflect on what impact books and poems can have on their lives.”

For more information, and to schedule times to read, contact Dr. Myra Salcedo at [email protected]