Park University’s Poetry at Park Series to Feature The Symphony

The Symphony, a group of four African-American poets, will be the featured speakers at Park University’s Poetry at Park Series on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. The poetry readings, which are free and open to the public, will be held at the American Jazz Museum, 1616 E. 18th St., in Kansas City, Mo.

The group, which includes poets Randall Horton, Marcus Jackson, Jamaal May and John Murillo, also will perform at the Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts in front of students from three Kansas City area high schools earlier that afternoon. In addition, on Friday, Oct. 4, The Symphony will put on a creative writing workshop for the high school students at the University’s Parkville Campus with Park faculty and students.

Members of The Symphony combine their voices into four movements that form one song using multiple stories of love, prison, fatherhood and the denizens of cities sometimes absent from American verse. The Symphony has put together its homage to the work and memory of Etheridge Knight, The House that Etheridge Built, a work that is part lecture, part poetic suite, and is an introduction to the work of Knight and the voices of his literary descendants.

The Poetry at Park Series is made possible through a National Endowment for the Arts “Art Works” grant the University received in April to support activities for Kansas City area high school students that celebrate the power of poetry.

According to Virginia Brackett, Ph.D., associate professor of English and director of the Park University Honors Academy, the funding supports collaboration with the Kansas City, Mo., School District, Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools, Prep-KC (Kansas City’s Partnership for Regional Educational Preparation) and the American Jazz Museum that will allow students to work both online and at the University’s Parkville Campus with the poetry group.

“I am excited to bring The Symphony back to Park University to interact with our area high school students,” Brackett said. “The funding by the National Endowment for the Arts acts as testimony to the value of the Poetry at Park Series initiative.”

For more information about this series of community engagement events hosted by Park University, contact Brackett at or (816) 584-6818.

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