Monday, September 16, 2013

Alice Walker & The Harvest Reading

Photo by Rudolph Boyd
         This has been Alice Walker week. It began with a trip to Mrs. Dalloway’s bookstore with a gift certificate I got  months ago for reading at the Montclair Public Library. I had stowed it away in that Abyss of a File that is supposed to keep things from being forgotten.

        At Mrs. Dalloway's I found Ms. Walker’s Hard Times Require Furious Dancing, and isn’t that the truth!  Today was joyous First Day of the New Series for Anna Halperin’s dance movement class, and I did some at least semi-furious dancing. Afterwards I went to the University Library and found Walker’s The World Will Follow Joy,  and I certainly hope she is right. 

         I also watched videos of Alice I found on her web site and bought tickets to the film about her, which will be shown at the Mill Valley Film Festival. I've loved having her in my life all week.  Below is the poem I wrote about her, and below that you'll see the announcement of an event where I plan to read it. I hope you'll attend!

      Nineteen Seventy Something

                                        for Alice Walker

I remember her at that gathering
though I can’t remember why we gathered  
or when
she in dashiki & dreads     or was that later   
There were luminaries in that room  
though to be a woman was luminous enough   
If you were proud   
If you were standing up or acting out   
If you were Congresswoman Bella Abzug
in her iconic hat
If you were That Blond Activist in aviator shades  
If you were Constance Carroll  new black president
of where I taught  
If you were Peggy Reese  my-colleague-the-geologist
whose expertise   Dakota Sandstone 
was my alias    a nom de plume
to cover my tracks   
Alice Walker
you were laying down hot tracks of poetry
and the short stories called In Love and Trouble
and weren’t we all? 
Not to mention the poems titled

Revolutionary Petunias  
See we were learning how to garden   
seeding the beds of change   
you have to water     fertilize  
weed and watch over   
and then we learned    reluctantly    to prune  

That’s when I stopped using Dakota Sandstone  
which crumbles    slides  and can’t abide a shift 

Have I let this poem go to seed?  
All I started out to do was say
Alice Walker  I just saw that video of you
in your age    your white hair    
and I love the wildness 
that still dances
in your eyes

                                CELEBRATING HARVEST
                                   Poetry, Prose, Libations

Please join us for a harvest of earth-centered writing and book signing at
                                  First Light Farm Stand.

             When: 2:00 pm, Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Where: First Light Farm Stand, 4588 Bodega Avenue, Petaluma

Who will read: Poets Frances Hatfield, Naomi Ruth Lowinsky
     and Leah Shelleda, and novelist Patricia Damery.

         Free. Booksigning and light refreshments to follow



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