My head is ablaze with the tapping of toes and the world class vocal talent we have here at Oxbridge! From instrumentalists and singers to beat-boxers and rappers, the Oval in The Diana Center was exploding with performers who are not only gifted academically, but musically as well! The venue was packed with students and faculty who were eager and encouraging towards the twenty entertainers last night. The show was extremely diverse; encompassing many cultures, languages and musical styles. Needless to say, the evening was nothing short of fantastic and the performances were jaw dropping, interactive, and brought laughs, smiles and even tears to the NYCE family! Oxbridge has got some serious talent. Bravo!
Oxbridge’s founder Professor James G. Basker paid a visit to students in the New York College Experience on Tuesday, July 17th. He gave a lecture about how poetry helped to end slavery, and later attended an Ice Cream Social in order to get to know some of this year’s students a little bit better.
Professor Basker began his lecture by explaining that, “in today’s world, it’s easy to hear people say business is important, economics are important, science is important, [and that] literature [is only] nice and aesthetically pleasing, it doesn’t really matter; what I want to show is that it does matter.”
During the lecture, Basker discussed the contents of his book, “Amazing Graze,” which includes over four hundred poems by over 250 poets, which together create the first anthology of poetic writings on slavery during the enlightenment. Only six of the poems in his book have been published prior to Basker’s book since they were originally printed, even though the earliest poems are from the 1600s.
The lecture was focused primarily on the roles that poets had in shaping history. The poems written brought the public eye to the injustices and horrors of slavery, especially since they were written by men, women, Africans, African Americans, and even white slaveowners, which helped to put slavery into a perspective relatable to all who were connected to slavery in some way. Basker described the poems as important historical artifacts that can actually give us more insight to the “more elusive sides of history.”
After reading and discussing exerts from “Amazing Grace,” NYCE students were given the opportunity to ask questions about his lecture. In conclusion, Basker explained that he hoped for the students to take away that poetry does have tremendous value in shaping history, and to always look past books like anthologies as they will always leave out important pieces of literature like those published in his book.
By Sara Evall
Following Mr. Basker’s captivating talk about the expression of slavery through poetry, the Oxbridge students were given the opportunity to get to know Mr. Basker on a more personal level. During the ’32 flavour’ ice cream social, students were able to ask the founder of Oxbridge Academic Programs questions on his life and work so far.
Here is a short Q & A we had with him:
The Hudson Herald (THH): Why did you choose New York as one of your locations for a summer programme?
Jim Basker (JB): Sometimes you’ll hear that Boston is a great American university town. I’ve taught at Harvard for 7 years and there’s no question that Boston is amazing with all the universities like Boston College and Berkeley. But New York is something else. It’s a business capital, media capital and a great college town. For the right kind of student New York is a perfect university town.I mean there are 100 000 students. There’s so much you can do and so much diversity.
THH: When did you finish writing the book?
JB: You said a very special word; Finished. I didn’t finish, I stopped. When it comes to compiling you can never really finish. It’s an ongoing process.
THH: What exciting things have you done?
JB: Well, I lived in Britain for years and for the last 30 years I’ve spent 2-3 months of each year travelling everywhere. So I’ve done quite a lot.