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Curtis Mayfield was one of the seminal vocalists and most talented guitarists of his era. But perhaps more important is his role as a social critic, and the vital influence his music had on the civil rights movement. People Get Ready is the black anthem of the 1960s, and on his soundtrack to the 1972 movie Super Fly, rather than glorifying the blaxploitation imagery of the film, Mayfield wrote and sang one of the most incisive audio portraits of black America on record. 

In Traveling Soul, Todd Mayfield tells his famously private father's story in riveting detail. Born into dire poverty, raised in the slums of Chicago, Curtis became a musical prodigy, not only singing like a dream but also growing into a brilliant songwriter. In the 1960s he became a pioneer, opening his own label and production company and working with many other top artists, including the Staple Singers. Curtis's life was famously cut short by an accident that left him paralyzed, but in his declining health he received the long-awaited recognition of the music industry. 

Todd Mayfield is Curtis Mayfield's second-oldest son. He is an entrepreneur and former financial services executive in Chicago, and promotes his father's music and legacy. Travis Atria has written extensively on music and culture for Paste, Wax Poetics, Guitarist, the Believer, and other publications. His music has been featured on MTV, GQ.com, and an independent film that debuted at SXSW. He lives in Gainesville, Florida.


**UPDATE: Venue has been changed to the University City Public Library**




Event date: 
Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 6:30pm
Event address: 
University City Public Library
6701 Delmar
St Louis, MO 63130
Traveling Soul: The Life of Curtis Mayfield Cover Image
ISBN: 9781613736791
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chicago Review Press - October 2016


More info and a printable information page here.



A Washington University MFA Program Sponsored Reading


It has been apparent for some time that Cole is the most important American poet under sixty. His late work has made the bland, generic poems of so many in his generation an embarrassment. His unsparing portraits are as scarifying as any poems we have. --William Logan, The New Criterion

This is not poetry for the faint of heart, or for anyone wishing for a merely inspiring read; it is heartbreaking and purifying as only great poetry can be.--Craig Morgan Teicher, Cleveland Plain Dealer 


Henri Cole was born in Fukuoka, Japan, in 1956. He has published eight previous collections of poetry and received many awards for his work, including the Jackson Poetry Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Rome Prize, the Berlin Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. He lives in Boston, where he is a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.


Event date: 
Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 8:00pm
Event address: 
Washington University
Hurst Lounge (Rm 201) / Duncker Hall
St. Louis, MO 63130
Nothing to Declare: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374536695
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 2nd, 2016

Touch Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374533472
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - September 4th, 2012

Pierce the Skin: Selected Poems, 1982-2007 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374532666
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - March 15th, 2011

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