Sitting in his office at the Museum of the African Diaspora, where he’s served as deputy director since September, Michael Warr holds a copy of the just-out Norton Anthology “Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin,” which he edited with Phil Cushway.
“This makes me think of when I first graduated from high school in San Francisco, going to my first job and being at a bus stop and seeing a police officer with a .375 Magnum pointed in this teenager’s face,” Warr says. “His hand was just kind of shaking like this, and I actually intervened. I mean, I was like 18 or something like that, and that has stuck with me to this very very day.”
He also recalls being among a group of students who would go from classroom to classroom every Friday, reading their poetry. “This goes way back for me,” Warr says, “this engagement in poetry, and this view of poetry as something that can actually help transform.”