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Sterling A. Brown’s (1901-1989) reputation as a major American poet rests primarily on 1980’s The Collected Poems of Sterling A. Browna volume that brought together the writer’s later work with his highly influential first volume, 1932’s Southern Road. It’s a crucially important tome in 20th-century American verse that whips the reader through 100 years of the African-American experience and refines its spiritual and vernacular traditions through Brown’s highly wrought poetic sensibility. Though much of Brown’s work in Collected Poems harks back to a now-vanished world, his poems possess a bustling and complex modernity that has kept them fresh and surprising to this day. In honor of the centenary of Brown’s birth, the Folger Shakespeare Library has organized a celebration of Sterling Brown’s work through readings, a film screening, and panel discussions, all moderated by WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 E. Capitol St. SE. $10. For reservations call (202) 544-7077. (Richard Byrne)