Dear Kwame Alexander, Thank you for making us openly weep last year at the ILA conference when you said, “The mind of an adult begins with the imagination of a child,” and “all kids are the good kids” When we heard you say those words and the room burst into thunderous applause, we knew […]
By Guadalupe Garcia McCall Poetry is where I live. It is where I go when I am most wounded. Poetry is the place I hide when I am most vulnerable, but it is also the cloak I wrap around myself when I know I have to speak up because I have something important to […]
By Dr. Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez “Before you go further,/ let me tell you what a poem brings,/ first, you must know the secret,/ there is no poem/ to speak of, it is a way to attain/ a life without boundaries” — from “Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings by Juan Felipe Herrera […]
Although it is officially May, I shall continue with the April Poet and Jazz posts. April 12 Poet of the Day is Quincy Troupe. Read more about this prolific and fascinating writer below.
Poetry Foundation: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/quincy-troupe
Books written by Quincy Troupe from Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Quincy-Troupe/e/B001ILMAXK
Sherley Anne Williams, poet, author, and social critic, is April 11 Poet of the Day. Read more about this multitalented poet below.
Poetry Foundation: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/sherley-anne-williams
Voices From the Gap: http://voices.cla.umn.edu/artistpages/williamsSherley.php
Kevin Young, born in Lincoln, Nebraska, is April 10 Poet of the Day. Read more about this award winning poet below.
Poetry Foundation: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/kevin-young
Youtube video: “Blending Music in Poetry”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ7s8xIp7dk
Poem “The Dry Spell”
The Dry Spell
Waking early with the warming house my grandmother knew what to do taking care not to wake Da Da she cooked up a storm in darkness adding silent spices and hot sauce to stay cool. She ate later, alone after the children had been gathered and made to eat her red eggs. Da Da rose late, long after the roosters had crowed his name, clearing an ashy throat pulling on long wooly underwear to make him sweat even more. The fields have gone long enough without water he liked to say, so can I and when he returned pounds heavier from those thirsty fields he was even cooler losing each soaked woolen skin to the floor, dropping naked rain in his wife’s earthen arms.
From The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, edited by Nikky Finney. Copyright © 2007 by Kevin Young. Reprinted with permission of the University of Georgia Press.
Tracy K. Smith is April 9 Poet of the Day. Read more about this award winning poet below.
Youtube video: “Imagining the Universe” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW7WIJaSfl4, PEN World Festival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGEI9vWOGxs, “The Good Life” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUn4DWu7b4U
Melvin B. Tolson is April 8 Poet of the Day. Read more about this poet, debtor, and politician below.
Poetry Foundation: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/melvin-b-tolson
Modern American Poetry: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/s_z/tolson/bio.htm
Black Past.org: http://www.blackpast.org/aaw/tolson-melvin-b-1898-1966
A Song for Myself
Melvin Tolson, “A Song for Myself” from Harlem Gallery and Other Poems of Melvin B. Tolson (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1999)
Source: “Harlem Gallery” and Other Poems of Melvin B. Tolson (University Press of Virginia, 1999)
US Poet Laureate Rita Dove is April 7 Poet of the Day. Read more about this talented poet below.
Poetry Foundation: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/rita-dove
Academy of Achievement: http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/dov0bio-1
Poetry Archive: http://www.poetryarchive.org/poet/rita-dove
Library of Congress Web Guides: http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/dove/
I love the hour before takeoff, that stretch of no time, no home but the gray vinyl seats linked like unfolding paper dolls. Soon we shall be summoned to the gate, soon enough there’ll be the clumsy procedure of row numbers and perforated stubs—but for now I can look at these ragtag nuclear families with their cooing and bickering or the heeled bachelorette trying to ignore a baby’s wail and the baby’s exhausted mother waiting to be called up early while the athlete, one monstrous hand asleep on his duffel bag, listens, perched like a seal trained for the plunge. Even the lone executive who has wandered this far into summer with his lasered itinerary, briefcase knocking his knees—even he has worked for the pleasure of bearing no more than a scrap of himself into this hall. He’ll dine out, she’ll sleep late, they’ll let the sun burn them happy all morning —a little hope, a little whimsy before the loudspeaker blurts and we leap up to become Flight 828, now boarding at Gate 17.
James Emanuel is April 6 Poet of the Day. Read more about this poet, scholar, and activist below.
Poetry Foundation: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/james-a-emanuel#poet
African American Registry: http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/james-emanuel-poet-afar
WingedWord Blog Post Interview: https://wingedword.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/an-interview-with-james-a-emanuel/
Youtube videos: Joseph Langley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWHWm3iiFZQ, James Emanuel reading his poem “Emmett Till”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnZFPSPugNk, reads three poems: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0Q3g5vNTQw
Poems from AfroPoets:
” I’m A Jazz Singer, ” She Replied
He dug what she said:
bright jellies, smooth marmalade
spread on warm brown bread.
“Jazz” from drowsy lips
orchids lift to honeybees
floating on long sips.
“Jazz”: quick fingerpops
pancake on a griddle-top
of memories. Stop.
as nutmeg, missing fingers,
gold, Less serious.
“Jazz”: cool bannister.
Don’t need no stair. Ways to climb
when the sax is there.
Written by James Emanuel