Al Young title

Archive for October, 2008

FOURTEEN STRAIGHT LINES FOR BESS

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

In memory of Bess Mason Ivory, 1919-2008

From Hutchins Intermediate days you checked
to see how I was doing at that school.
You and Marcellius did this, I suspect,
to keep our teachers playing by the rule.

Back then the Parent-Teacher thing was big.
I’m talking 1950’s, back when Ike
was President. Marcellius knew how twig
and branch connect. You, too. You two were like

a substitute, a mom and dad who showed
on visiting night to speak on my behalf.
My own folks lacked the time or,  maybe slowed
by circumstance and children, lacked the staff.

But you, sweet Bess, you looked out after me.
Love grafts me fast now to your family tree.

Al Young

© 2008 by Al Young

 

 

 

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NIKKI GIOVANNI AUDIO INTERVIEW with Cassandra Love

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

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nikkig_f2.gif Clickable zone

Now a New York Times bestseller!

Hip Hop Speaks to Children

A groundbreaking new anthology of rhymes and rhythms

from Sourcebooks, Inc.

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Poet Nikki Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 7, 1943. Although she grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, she and her sister returned to Knoxville each summer to visit their grandparents. Nikki graduated with honors in history from her grandfather’s alma mater, Fisk University. Since 1987, she has been on the faculty at Virginia Tech, where she is a University Distinguished Professor.

Poet Nikki Giovanni joined five regional gospel choirs at James Madison University’s Wilson Hall Auditorium February 27, 2006 for a concert commemorating the 35th anniversary of the Truth Is On Its Way album. (more…) 

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spkr-icon.jpg  Click here to listen to this fresh, inspiring October interview with Nikki Giovanni at World Wide Word

 

 

PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR DVD COLLECTION

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

 Go to the source (Black Caucus of the American Library Association)

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NEW DVD COLLECTION ON POET PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR FEATURES RECITALS BY NATION’S TOP BLACK POETS

“Paul Laurence Dunbar is the poet laureate of the Negro race.”
Booker T. Washington

Famous 19th Century African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar’s birthday will be celebrated with gala festivities during the weekend of June 27, 2008 at the Dunbar House in Dayton, Ohio. The national press and artists and dignitaries from all over the nation have been invited to attend. This weekend of Dunbar festivities will include a parade, dinner and a National Launch Party for several educational DVDs on Dunbar. These DVDs, known as The Paul Laurence Dunbar Collection, provide an entertaining and educational experience for poetry lovers, families and students of all ages. This DVD Collection will be a substantial educational resource for teachers and librarians all around the country.

This treasure trove of over 200 Dunbar poems and stories is important to both American Literature and African American culture. The poems are dramatically recited by the very top Dunbar storytellers and dramatic African American poets in the nation, including Nikki Giovanni, Ishmael Reed, Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, California Poet Laureate Al Young, Mitch Capel, Bobby Norfolk, Awele Makeba, Charlotte Blake-Alston, Dylan Pritchett, Sr., and Oni Lasana. The production also includes commentary and analysis by some of America’s foremost Dunbar scholars. Many famous African American poets, including Langston Hughes and Nikki Giovanni, have frequently acknowledged their debt of gratitude to Dunbar. “There is no poet, black or non-black, who measures his achievement,” Dr. Giovanni said of Dunbar. The title of Maya Angelou’s autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, is taken in homage from a stanza of Dunbar’s famous poem “Sympathy.” Even Jimi Hendrix’s anthem song “Purple Haze” draws its title from Dunbar’s description of the sublime autumn sky in Dunbar’s poem “The Old Apple Tree.”

Paul Laurence Dunbar was a most remarkable American writer. The child of slaves, Dunbar was raised in a racist and hostile America that used any means necessary to terrorize, criminalize, disenfranchise and re-enslave African Americans.

Despite the racist climate, Dunbar led an exciting and fulfilling life. He was childhood friends with Orville and Wilbur Wright. The only African American of his high school class, Dunbar was class president, editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, a member of the debate society, class poet and president of the literary society. He and Mark Twain shared the same literary agent. He was the protégé of Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass said of Dunbar, “I regard Paul Dunbar as the most promising young colored man in America.”

Dunbar toured America constantly, giving dramatized readings of his poetry. He was honored by President William McKinley and was awarded a ceremonial sword by Theodore Roosevelt. He was mentored by Frederick Douglass and praised by W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington and other giants of his day. The toast of Europe, Dunbar also gave a command performance before the Queen of England. He was married to poet and civil rights activist Alice Moore Dunbar. Together they were America’s African American power couple, hosting the top Black intellectuals and notables of the era in their home in Washington, D.C.

Through his work, Paul Laurence Dunbar chronicled an African American history and experience that had been distorted by white journalists and historians. Even today Dunbar’s writings are relevant. His works provide guidance, encouragement, cautionary tales and adages that help readers of all ages to better navigate through a hostile and racist society. Dunbar’s writings provide wisdom and direction for African American culture in the same way that “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” the “Mother Goose Rhymes” or the “Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales” guided white culture. This is where Dunbar achieves greatness. Dunbar gives joy, with a message, to the very young and old alike with stories such as “A Cabin Tale,” “Little Brown Baby” and “The Seedling.” He gives us all inspiration with poems such as “Keep A Song Up On De Way,” “Just Whistle A Bit” and “The Lesson.” He speaks of history in such poems as “W’en Dey ‘Listed Colored Soldiers,” “Frederick Douglass,” “The Haunted Oak,” “Goin’ Back,” “The Colored Soldiers,” “Sympathy,” “Life” and “We Wear the Mask.” His work provides so many other wonderful glimpses of the African American experience made universal.

(more…)

MARCI KLIMEK’S BLOG FROM LINFIELD COLLEGE (McMinnville, Oregon)

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Marci Klimek

 update on life

 Monday, October 13, 2008

This last week wasn’t too exciting. We had an off week from meets and so we got a full weekend. I had 2 midterms and I feel like they went pretty well. I had both of them on Thursday though which made for a long day. I had one 90 minute test starting at 9:15, then a second 90 minute test 15 mins after I got done with the first, then 3 hours of work 30 minutes after i got out of that class, and then a hard workout 15 minutes after work…. I was ready for bed. The two tests were in Managerial Accounting and Business law and then I have another midterm next Monday in my History of World Civ class so I will be spending this weekend trying to get ready for that!


Today in my Literature class we had a guest come to speak and discuss with us, his name is Al Young and he is the California Poet Laureate. The role of the California Poet Laureate is to spread the art of poetry from classrooms to boardrooms across the state, to inspire an emerging generation of literary artists and to educate all Californians about the many poets and authors who have influenced our great state through creative literary expression. He read some of his works and spoke to us in general about American cultural and the power of language. One really interesting insight he made was about the medias and the governments use of complex and cliche termonalogy which has no meaning to the general public or the average person. This kinda of “prepackaged” language is unclear and confusing to most of us and if you think about it this is realy true. Terms like “pre-emptive strike” or “power grab” are virtually meaningless, there is no guide-book or reference to look to, we can only assume meanings. Additionally there are secondary meanings to so many frequently used words, for example, conservative is defined as someone who is resisting change or perfers a traditional role, recently we see a societal view of conservatives as aggressive and seeking power and expansion rather than maintenance of personal issues. There is terrible loss of simple and useful language that all people can related to the use of senses; a lemon is sour, we all know sour, it is what it is, it is clear and straight forward, it is not created to bring out an image or an emotion or pull you one way or another… let us speak with clarity and honesty and be provided with simple information not stories and headlines and opinions. Allow us our due right to facts and let us form our own thoughts on things. What channel can I turn to for that? Anyhow, the website is alyoung.org if you would like to read some of his work. My favorite that he read to us and his favorite also is titled, “a note on the future of love.” I can’t find it on Google, but it is really good and about American Culture. He also spoke about how America is the largest market place in the world for drugs, largely due to the high stress, go, go, go, american lifestyle. I think we can all relate to the rush of life and the demand in America to keep up in order to pursuit happiness and success. I am glad that we all have our families, dreams, and sanity to overcome this trials… I am sure glad I have my running as well.

The weather has been good here, this weekend was warm and the colors were amazing. Some friends and I played a few games of horse shoes in the backyard and tossed the baseball around. It was really relaxing once we warmed up and got in a hot breakfast after the 7:00 practice on Saturday morning. It was deffinately still dark out and looking a little frosty white like christmas at a nippy 28 degrees.

For Halloween we will be in Walla Walla getting ready for our Conference meet the next day. We all decided to dress up for dinner that night and suprise the coaches so I am trying to think of a really good costume idea… if any one has any suggestions please let me know. I can’t wait to see all the pictures of the little cousins in their outfits for Halloween. They are always adorable. It will be tough to top Hunters little Einstein outfit from last year though!! SO CUTE!!! I am including a pic so you can start to get excited for all the little trick-or-treaters coming to your door soon!

We have our final meet before conference this weekend at McIver Park near Portland and my dad is coming up again to watch! I am really excited to see him again! It is a shame that Thanksgiving is so far away and is our only break all semester… dang it! Atleast we have the full week off and only 2 weeks of class after that!

Well, I best get back to the homework. This week won’t be too bad, just keeping caught up with everything and getting ready for that History test!

Hope all are healthy and happy and enjoying the crunchy leafs, the crisp air, and the wonderful colors… If anyone has the time take a walk thru Lithia Park for me… I sure to miss getting to see that park this time of year… nothing like it!

Love you and Miss you all!

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Marci Klimek
I attend Linfield College and earning a marketing major and a biology minor. I run NCAA DIII cross country and track and work as an anatomy lab teacher’s aid.

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 © 2008 by Marci Klimek

 

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