On March 1, 2023, as the final event for Wagner College's honoring of Black History Month, the poet David Mills performed selections from his new book Boneyarn for a packed room of students and faculty. Mills has performed at Wagner before, and he always brings his talent as an actor to give a dynamic, passionate, and expressive reading of his poetry. His other books of poetry include The Sudden Country, The Dream Detective, and After Mistic, and he has published widely in literary journals. His new book, Boneyarn, that he has discussed in an interview with WNYC, dives into the history of the African Burial Ground in lower Manhattan.
His poetry sometimes seems to commune with the ancestors as it recovers the memory of the lives of black people at the dawn of New York, and his performance brought their voices alive. As a whole, his book investigates the significance of New York's dark role in the transatlantic slave trade, and Mills clearly did a lot of research to prepare for the writing of his poems. During his performance, he would sometimes pause to invite the audience to reflect on this history, and they left the event both emotionally and intellectually moved.