CSULA Department of English | Events

As part of CSULA's celebration of National Poetry Month, A. B. Spellman will visit CSULA in April 2008 to offer poetry readings and lectures, and to launch his new and long-awaited book, Things I Must Have Known

A. B. Spellman is both a founding member of the Black Arts Movement and one of the fathers of modern jazz criticism. Before beginning his thirty-year tenure at the National Endowment of the Arts, Spellman was an active poet, radio programmer, and essayist in New York, the poet-in-residence at the Morehouse College in Atlanta, and a visiting lecturer at Emory, Rutgers, and Harvard universities.  Image of A. B. Spellman

photo credit: Jim Alexander

He has also been a regular commentator on jazz for National Public Radio and has published numerous books and articles on the arts, including The Beautiful Days, a collection of poems first published in 1965, and Four Lives in the Bebop Business, a classic in the field of jazz criticism that is now available as Four Jazz Lives (University of Michigan Press).


Between 1975 and 2005, Spellman worked at the National Endowment for the Arts, first as the Director of the Expansion Arts Program and, for the last decade of his term, as Deputy Chairman. In recognition of Spellman’s commitment and service to jazz, the NEA named one of its prestigious Jazz Masters awards the A. B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy. Additionally, the Jazz Journalists Association voted to honor Mr. Spellman with its "A Team" award and he received the Benny Golson Award from his alma mater, Howard University, for his service to jazz.

He now lives in Washington, D.C. and will publish his long-awaited first, full-length collection of poems with Coffee House Press in April of 2008.

For more information, call the Cal State L.A. English Department at (323) 343-4140.

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A. B. Spellman's visit to CSULA is made possible by the CSULA Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics.

A. B. Spellman at CSULA

Wednesday, April 16, Noon, Band Room (Music 150)
"Jazz In Paris Between the Wars: How Jazz Influenced 20th Century Western Culture":
Presentation, with the CSULA Jazz Band under the tutelage of Professor James Ford, open to the public and free of charge.

Thursday, April 17, 6:30pm, Music Hall (Click here for map)
Poetry reading open to the public and free of charge. Book signing will follow.