Publishing Black Lesbian and Gay Literature: an evening with Lisa C. Moore

Lisa C. MooreOn Wednesday, March 29th, the College of Staten Island welcomed Lisa C Moore, the the founder and editor of RedBone Press. Moore greeted a packed room of around 100 students, faculty, and staff who attended the program. Professor Brim took the stage with her and conducted a casual interview, before turning the room over to student questions. She discussed a wide array of issues and complexities surrounding publishing black lesbian and gay literature, including reception from the black community, reception from the queer community, the trials and travails of dealing with the mainstream publishing industry, complexities around getting bookstores to carry RedBone’s books, and what it’s like to be a pioneer in the field. RedBone Press is notable for being the publisher of otherwise hard to find black gay and lesbian novels, but the press has also republished works of significance that might otherwise have gone out of print (Brother to Brother is an example).

For me, the most compelling part of Moore’s story was how she got started. After being told by publishers that there was no market for black lesbian short stories, Moore founded her own press because she knew it wasn’t true (she was right! RedBone’s first publication, does your mama know, has been reprinted numerous times and won two LAMBDA Literary Awards). This kind of gumption and courage is inspiring to me as a person who studies the ways in which DIY or counter-cultural publishing models fill a gap in establishment publishing practices. As a small press created specifically to counter a dearth of existing black gay and lesbian publishing, Moore is practicing the spirit of “if you don’t see it, make it yourself” ideology familiar to me from DIY literary spaces. Around midway through the audience q&a, one student asked Moore if she sees herself as a role model. This is the singular moment when Moore lost her words; it took some prompting from Professor Brim for her to acknowledge that she probably is seen as a role model by others. Later in the evening, another student raised her hand and declared, “You really are a role model!” CSI was honored to have her visit with us.

Read RedBone books for free at the CSI Library:

The Library’s guide to books on Black Gay & Lesbian Publishing: read it HERE

The event was sponsored by Women Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Bertha Harris Women’s Center, International Studies Program, Department of Media Culture, Department of Social Work, Department of English, American Studies Program, the LGBTQ Resource Center, Department of the Library, and the Center for Career and Professional Development. You can see the flier for the event HERE

–by Prof Anne Hays


Growing Food on Staten Island, A Presentation by Jay Weichun

Growing Food on Staten Island

College of Staten Island Archives Presents…

Growing Food on Staten Island
A video presentation by Jay Weichun
Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 2:30 to 3:30 pm
College of Staten Island Library Theater

Jay Weichun is a Staten Island-based filmmaker focusing on issues surrounding ecology, social justice and spatial relationships.  His work attempts to interweave individual narratives of community building and resistance. He is an adjunct assistant professor in the Dept. of Media Culture, College of Staten Island/CUNY.

Convinced that home vegetable gardens are a means of understanding Staten Island and its people, Weichun has been documenting Staten Island gardeners since 2008 and has done video interviews with more than 28 gardeners. He will show a selection of his videos and discuss his project.

This event is being sponsored by the Greener Library Committee of the Library, which promotes greater awareness of environmental issues.

This event is a CC CLUE event

Tyehimba Jess wins the Pulitzer Prize!

Tyehimba Jess, Associate Professor of English at the College of Staten Island, has won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his work, Olio! We at the library are so proud of Professor Jess for achieving this magnificent honor.

His publisher describes the book this way: “With ambitious manipulations of poetic forms, Tyehimba Jess presents the sweat and story behind America’s blues, worksongs and church hymns. Part fact, part fiction, Jess’s much anticipated second book weaves sonnet, song, and narrative to examine the lives of mostly unrecorded African American performers directly before and after the Civil War up to World War I. Olio is an effort to understand how they met, resisted, complicated, co-opted, and sometimes defeated attempts to minstrelize them.”

We invite you to check the book out at the library and read it for yourself! Olio lives in the CSI faculty display case in the first floor rotunda of the library. Find it using this call number, which describes its exact location in the case: Display Case – PS3610 .E874 A6 2016.

More about Professor Jess:

Detroit native Tyehimba Jess’ first book of poetry, leadbelly, was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.” Olio, his second collection, was published by Wave Books in April 2016. Jess, a Cave Canem and NYU alumnus, received a 2004 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a 2004-2005 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Jess is also a veteran of the 2000 and 2001 Green Mill Poetry Slam Team, and won a 2000 – 2001 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award, and a 2006 Whiting Fellowship. He exhibited his poetry at the 2011 TEDxNashville Conference. Jess is an Associate Professor of English at College of Staten Island.

–Anne Hays

Welcome Desk

Library Welcome DeskIf you have walked through the Volpe Rotunda lately, you may have noticed the new welcome desk.  The desk is staffed with work-study students who have been trained to assist students with directional questions. From the reception they have received, it appears to be working out well.  Often times when librarians at the reference desk are busy, the welcome desk is another avenue to stop by and pose a question.


Women on the March

Women's Suffrage Display

Women on the March Exhibit in the Library Gallery

While March is known worldwide as Women’s History Month, the year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York.  New York led the way for other states to follow, in allowing women the right to vote, in a referendum held on Nov 6, 1917.

The CSI Library has assembled a slew of events, including films, exhibits, and lectures all year long to celebrate this anniversary.  A research guide has also been created to provide the college community with a rich collection of resources about the women’s suffrage pre- and post- 1917.  The march continues #WomensSuffrage, #VotesforWomen, #NY4Suffrage.

For more information, please view this website