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2012 Kresge Emminent Artist

By The Kresge Foundation, a monograph on the life and work of this poet, editor, and educator and 2012 recipient of the Kresge Eminent Artist Award. (2012). The Kresge Foundation.

Also See:

  • Detroit Poet Laureate (2001 – 2020)
  • Induction into the National Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent
    (Chicago State University), 1999
  • George Kent Award 1995, Gwendolyn Brooks
  • Doctor of Fine Arts degree (hon.), Michigan State University, 1994
  • Michigan Artist Award (Governor’s Arts Awards), Concerned Citizens for the Arts in
    Michigan, 1993
  • Contributor’s Arts Award, The Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and
    Creative Writing, Chicago State University, 1993
  • American Book Award (publisher/editor category), The Before Columbus Foundation,
    1993
  • Doctor of Humane Letters degree (hon.), Loyola University, Chicago, 1993
  • Award of Excellence, The Black Scholar magazine, 1992
  • Doctor of Humane Letters degree (hon.), Siena Heights College, 1991
  • Literature Award, Arts Foundation of Michigan, 1990
  • “In Her Lifetime” Tribute, Afrikan Poets Theatre, 1989
  • Creative Achievement award, College Language Association, 1988 (for Octavia and Other Poems)
  • Creative Artist Award, Michigan Council for the Arts, 1987, 1994
  • Robert Hayden Runagate Award, Your Heritage House Writers Series, 1985
  • Arts Achievement Award, Wayne State University, 1985
  • Testimonial Resolutions, Detroit City Council, 1982, 1985
  • Testimonial Resolutions, Michigan State Legislature, 1982, 1984
  • Citation, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, 1984
  • Citation, Black Caucus, National Council of Teachers of English, 1984
  • Induction as honorary member, Stylus Society (Howard University), 1984
  • Distinguished Soror of the Year award, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Alpha Rho Omega Chapter, 1969, 1984
  • Citation, Afro-American Museum of Detroit, 1983
  • Citation, Chesapeake/Virginia Beach Links, Inc., 1981
Former Detroit Mayor Dennis W. Archer with Naomi Long Madgett
Photo taken in 2001
A more complete list of  Appointments, Commissions, Residences, Testimonial Resolutions, Citations, Honorary Doctoral Degrees, Book  and Personal Awards, Proclamations and Selected References can be found in the Naomi Long Madgett 2012 Kresge Eminent Art Monograph  Pages 81-85

You Are My Joy and Pain is Naomi Long Madgett’s latest and possibly most endearing poetry collection. Bill Harris, a 2011 Kresge Foundation Eminent Artist, said of the book, "Even with the evidence of over a half-century or more of first-rate poetic artistry by Madgett, this collection is a breath-arresting surprise and delight. Poem-by-poem and section-by-section amaze. Each poem in the collection is a master class in technique and in her ability to transpose an idea into a tightly composed example of the craft of poetry."

You Are My Joy and Pain receives its name from the Billie Holiday song "Don’t Explain" and is divided into three parts. The first part, "A Promise of Sun," contains fourteen poems relating to the hopeful and joyful beginning of a new relationship. The second part, "Trinity: A Dream Sequence," consists of twenty poems with religious imagery and encompasses both the beginning and the end of a relationship. The third part, "Stormy Weather," includes thirty-two poems that relate to the heartbreaking experience of a love gone wrong. These are not love poems in the abstract—the richness with which Madgett writes hints at the firsthand experience of a lifetime of loving.

While several anthologies of love poems exist in the world, it is rare to find a single-author collection that so closely examines love in all of its messy and beautiful layers. Readers will identify with the hope and disappointment that Madgett presents in these poems.


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A Poet's Voice

Octavia and Other Poems

Travel back to Guthrie, Oklahoma with award-winning poet/publisher Naomi Long Madgett. Learn about a dead aunt's legacy and the coming of age of her impressionable niece. This film juxtaposes a poetry reading by Madgett, a 73-year-old African American woman, with footage of interpretive art works created by Detroit artists who were inspired by Madgett's poems. In addition to the original artwork, the film makes use of still photographs, historical film footage and music. A cameo appearance by James Earl Jones is just one of the many noteworthy moments in A Poet's Voice.

Madgett's poetry speaks with lyric tenderness about her efforts to step out of her Aunt Octavia's shadow and into her own light.


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