My Calendar

“Rewriting the Narrative: Fighting Erasure and Forging a Future”

April 2, 2023

Sunday, April 2, 2023

1:30-3:00 PM (Doors open at 1:00 PM)

Inlandia Institute and UCR Arts Present

Conversations at the Culver

“Rewriting the Narrative: Fighting Erasure and Forging a Future – A poets laureate discussion moderated by James Coats”

Panel: Antonio Edwards Jr., Natalie J. Graham, and Peter J. Harris

Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts

3834 Main Street, Riverside

Free and open to the public.


On Sunday, April 2, join James Coats for a conversation with current and past Poets Laureate as part of Inlandia’s Conversations at the Culver series, in association with Inlandia’s Blacklandia steering committee.


During this critical time of book bannings happening across the country and a push to blanch history we talk to three poet laureates rewriting the expected narrative by providing representation and truth-telling in their art and through their work. Poetry has long been a source of honest expression with people courageous enough to say the hard things. This panel looks to examine the difficulties of how we arrived where we are today and ways to reshape the future through education and understanding.


Books will be available for sale and signing. Light refreshments will be served. As part of the City of Riverside’s First Sundays program, entrance to the museum is free.


Motivational Speaker, Writer and Spoken Word Poet, Antonio Edwards Jr. provides audiences with powerful spoken word presentations customized to inspire and energize any event. When he is not performing Antonio is busy developing teaching methods to help young poets find their literary voice and use language poetry provides to develop their own form of self-expression and self–actualization. An explosive performer of the written word, Antonio's spoken word pieces are charged with rhyme, rhythm, wordplay and verbal assaults that will not just sit on paper. Known as the people’s poet, Antonio was named Tacoma Washington’s Poet Laureate in 2009.


Natalie J. Graham is an award-winning author and performer who has toured nationally with her collection of poems, Begin with a Failed Body. In August 2021, Natalie was appointed Poet Laureate of Orange County. A widely published scholar with research interests in race, identity performance, and music, she is also a professor in the Department of African American Studies at Cal State University. When she isn’t making poems, teaching, or planning events, she loves perfecting her chocolate chip cookie baking skills and learning about science with her son, Ronald.


Peter J. Harris, Altadena Poet Laureate Editor in Chief (2022-2024), is the author of Safe Arms: 20 Love & Erotic Poems (w/an Ooh Baby Baby moan), with Spanish translations by Francisco Letelier (FlowerSong Press), and SongAgain (Beyond Baroque Books). In 2015, his book of poetry, Bless the Ashes (Tia Chucha Press), won the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award, and his book of personal essays, The Black Man of Happiness: In Pursuit of My ‘Unalienable Right,’ won the American Book Award. Harris is founding director of The Black Man of Happiness Project, a creative, intellectual, and artistic exploration of Black men and joy. He writes the blog WREAKING HAPPINESS: A Joyful Living Journal:


Moderator James Coats is a multidisciplinary artist, author, and educator born in Los Angeles and raised in the Inland Empire. As a creative change agent he believes the arts can inspire the youth and influence positive change in the world. He is the winner of the 2021 San Gabriel Poetry Slam. In 2021 he founded the organization Lift Our Voices Education which hosts an award winning workshop monthly called Be The Change: Social Justice Writing Workshop. He became the Artist in Residence at The Garcia Center for the Arts in 2022. His newest poetry collection Midnight & Mad Dreams is published by World Stage Press. You can find him attending poetry readings throughout California or follow his poetry via his Instagram @MrLovingWords.

View full calendar