Charis Books and More Logo

A National Poetry Month celebration of: testimony, poems, proclamations, potions with doris davenport, Cynthia Manick, JP Howard, and Dr. Ra Malika Imhotep--

Event date: 
Saturday, April 1, 2023 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm

This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here.

In honor of National Poetry Month, Charis presents another "porch sit conversation" in celebration of doris diosa davenport's testimony: poems, proclamations, potions. The evening includes Dr. Ra Malika Imhotep, host and author of Gossypiin, Cynthia Manick, author of No Sweet Without Brine and JP Howard, author of SAY/MIRROR.

 testimony is a culturally textured practice of delivering the word, with call & response, worryin’ the line; witnessed, echoed, accepted, understood, adapted, praised and passed on.  This book features all that, amazingly, in poetry, prose & photography. This event is co-hosted by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History.

About the book:

Part one, “winter skin,” includes obligatory socio-political-activist, abolition and survival issues.  Part two, “affirmations” shares re-directed energies of being, gratefully, “still here” (to reference a poem by Daddy Langston. Hughes.)  Part Three, “testimony,” features practical spirituality, with and in poems, and many photos. Additionally, the book contains an introduction, an afterword, a reprinted classic essay, and a special photo album, all by the author. 

About the panel:

doris diosa davenport (pronouns: person / per): Performance poet, writer, educator & independent scholar; BA Paine College; MA SUNY/Buffalo, NY; PhD Univ. of So. Calif.  Visionary 73-year-old born (Jan. 29, 1949) and raised in traditional Cherokee Homelands (euro-colonized as Northeast Georgia). Sapiosexual  lesbian-feminist; CLA ( LGBTQ+  Nation & Alternate ROOTS ( member. i constantly, continually, adamantly work to end all forms of oppression, towards  truth & honesty – based egalitarian, inclusive and *magical* realities. testimony: proclamations, poems, potions is my 13th published book. Contact:

Cynthia Manick is the author of No Sweet Without Brine (Amistad-HarperCollins, 2023), editor of The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry, winner of the Lascaux Prize in Collected Poetry, and author of Blue Hallelujahs. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, MacDowell Colony, and Château de la Napoule among other foundations. Manick is the creator of the Soul Sister Revue reading series and her poem “Things I Carry into the World” was made into a film by Motionpoems and debuted on Tidal for National Poetry Month. A storyteller and performer at literary festivals, libraries, universities, and museums, Manick and her work has been featured in the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day Series, Callaloo, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Wall Street Journal, and other outlets. She currently serves on the board of the International Women’s Writing Guild and the editorial board of Alice James Books. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

JP Howard is a poet, educator, literary activist, curator, and community builder. JP is the Spring 2023 Brooklyn College Tow Mentor-in-Residence. Her debut poetry collection, SAY/MIRROR (The Operating System), was a Lambda Literary finalist. She is also the author of bury your love poems here (Belladonna*), Praise This Complicated Herstory: Legacy, Healing & Revolutionary Poems (Harlequin Creature) and co-editor of Sinister Wisdom Journal Black Lesbians--We Are the Revolution! JP has received fellowships and grants from Cave Canem, VONA, Lambda Literary Foundation, and Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC). She curates Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon and her poetry is widely anthologized. JP is a general Poetry Editor for Women's Studies Quarterly and Editor-At-Large of Mom Egg Review VOX online.

Ra Malika Imhotep, ph.d (Ra/They) is a Black feminist writer and performance artist and cultural worker from Atlanta, GA. They are co-convenor of a spiritual-political education project called The Church of Black Feminist Thought and a member of The Black Aesthetic curatorial collective. Their work has been published in Scalawag Mag, Burnaway, Arrow Journal, The Guggenheim Museum,, Southern Cultures, and elsewhere. Their debut poetry collection, gossypiin, was published by Red Hen Press in 2022.

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices.

Please contact us at or 404-524-0304 if you would like ASL interpretation at this event. If you would like to watch the event with live AI captions, you may do so by watching it in Google Chrome and enabling captions: Instructions here. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we begin this new way of connecting across distances.

By attending our virtual event you agree to our Code of Conduct: Our event seeks to provide a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), class, or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate. Anyone violating these rules will be expelled from this event and all future events at the discretion of the organizers. Please report all harassment to immediately.

Event address: 
No Sweet Without Brine: Poems By Cynthia Manick Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063244306
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Amistad - April 4th, 2023

Voted one of the Best Books of 2023 by the New York Public Library, Cynthia Manick’s poetry collection personifies love of self and culture through fresh observations and bitter truths voiced with breathtaking lyricism.

Say/Mirror By Jp Howard Cover Image
ISBN: 9780986050527
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Operating System - March 15th, 2016

2016 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry, Finalist. JP Howard's debut collection, SAY/MIRROR, is a dialogue of history and memory, reflecting on and integrating vintage photographs of her mother, Ruth King (a fairly well known African American runway model in Harlem during the 1940's and 1950's) with snapshots from the poet's own childhood.

Gossypiin By Ra Malika Imhotep Cover Image
ISBN: 9781636280257
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Red Hen Press - April 12th, 2022

This harvest of poems is inspired by the plant medicine latent in Gossypium Herbeceum, or Cotton Root Bark, which was used by enslaved Black women to induce labor, cure reproductive ailments and end unwanted pregnancies.

rectify my soul: & other writings By Doris Davenport Cover Image
ISBN: 9781723131073
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform - July 26th, 2018

Madness Like Morning Glories: Poems By Doris Davenport Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807129920
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: LSU Press - May 1st, 2005

In her enchanting poem sequence, doris davenport introduces readers to Soque Street and its "Affrilachian" residents. These African Americans inhabiting an Appalachian community in northeast Georgia live in a world where magic threads daily life and the living and dead commingle.

Blue Hallelujahs By Cynthia Manick Cover Image
ISBN: 9781625579454
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Black Lawrence Press, Inc. - June 20th, 2016

"Cynthia Manick's BLUE HALLELUJAHS bring us to a broil like Koko Taylor's 'white-toothed love coils on repeat.' Here, we have a gospel of womanly sharpness, a kitchen sinked and hot combed diary of the way Blues grinds into the 21st century.

Event Summary: 
testimony is a culturally textured practice of delivering the word, with call & response, worryin’ the line; witnessed, echoed, accepted, understood, adapted, praised and passed on.