Who are you that you prompt such ready poetry,
your hands at my back in a hug already famous?
Kiss the butter from my lips, October. Toast us.
— Al Young,
from Coastal Nights and Inland Afternoons
Â© Kent & Cindy Crockett
Photo-collage Â© AlYoung.org
The samba chorus line for Chino Espinoza y Los DueĂ±os del Son (salsa, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban) jump-kicks Sunday into action on the Latin Stage at the Art & Soul Festival in Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland 2009. | Photo: Al Young
A vacationing Luciano Federighi — eminent scholar of African American culture and longtime translator of Al Young’s books in Italy — enjoys a Blues Stage afternoon at Oakland’s Art & Soul with Al. Seated directly behind them: Valeria Federighi, Luciano and Rita’s songster-architect daughter, and her boyfriend Walter Patella.Â | Â© Rita Federighi
Another POVÂ |Â Photo: PC Mack
Â© Walter Patella
Valeria Federighi, Al Young, Rita Federighi, Luciano Federighi at the entrance to the Cathedral of Christ the Light by Oakland’s Lake Merritt.
(L-R) Jody Gladding, Matthew Goodman, Ellen Lesser, Deb Lund,
Al Young, Barbara Lewis, Diane Lefer, Rik Nelson, Nance Van Winckel, Brian Lewis — and way in the background at piano onstage: Ron Myers
AlYoung.org thanks the savvy, practiced waitress who herded the Orcas Island Writers Festival faculty and staff into position to capture this mellow after-dinner moment at the popular Ecotopian Restaurant & Theater.
Â© Susan Slapin
To demonstrate the call-and-response dynamic of African American cultural tradition, Al Young preaches James Weldon Johnson‘s sermon-poem, The Creation, urging the audience to respond aloud to the sounded text. This was a way of getting readers of Zora Neale Hurston‘s celebrated novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, to experience one of countless ways in which the oral and the aural intertwine, which is where community begins.
Â© Susan Slapin
As seductive a flautist as he is a pianist, clarinetist and saxophonist, Martin Lund beguiles a foot-tapping Al and the Saturday night Orcas Island Writers Festival audience. After meeting for the first time and 15 minutes of rehearsal, the two artists delivered a stirring 90-minute show of poetry, jazz and song.
Â© Susan Slapin
Floating on the charged sea-clouds of Martin Lund’s piano, Al, adrift in song, reminds the hushed crowd and himself that the moment alone exists, and that there can be no such place as “away.” To Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein’s “All the Things You Are” he and Martin storm heaven.
Â© Craig Strang
“How lucky can I be to have this beautiful man as my friend!” poet-anthologist Persis Karim writes in her Facebook album, Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn. Her husband Craig captured this shot in the post-equinox light of a September morning in their Berkeley backyard. Al was Persis’ teacher in Community Studies in the 1980s at UC Santa Cruz. Both writers have become passionate tomato gardeners.
[Persis Karim at FORA.tv]
Â© Al Young
Bananas, tomatoes: unbeatable beauty
Â© Susan Slapin
“A note from MadroĂ±a Land … ” (Orcas Island, WA |Â October 2009)
Â© Sally Walker
Al Young with poet and kora player Kurt Lamkin in performance at Ashley Hall (Charleston, SC), where they were featured October 5 in the 100-year-old girl preparatory schoolâ€™s Guest Writers Program.
Poet and world traveler Kurt Lamkin, playing the 21-string West African kora, holds a student and faculty audience rapt as he recites and sings his poetry in Recital Hall at Charlestonâ€™s stately Ashley Hall.Â Â |Â Â Al Young
Â©Â Barbara Allega
Al Young with Nick Bozanic, poet and Dean of Faculty, on a rainy Monday morning at Ashley Hall, South Carolina’s only all-girl college preparatory school, now celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Backed by the compelling shrine of an office bulletin board, poet Nick Bozanic, Ashley Hallâ€™s Dean of Faculty, reflects on his wife and sons and his student days and teaching life in Europe and Hawaiâ€™i.
PC MackÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Captive in flight, Al makes the most of a storm-plagued journey from Charleston to Jackson, Mississippi.
Â© Al Young
The Fairview Inn, where Al Young will stay and join fellow novelists Clyde Edgerton and Alice Elliott Dark for two days of panels, talks and readings for Mississippi high school students bussed statewide to the Millsaps College campus for the ongoing Eudora Welty Centennial Celebration.
Alexandra Franklin, a Jackson Prep junior — 2009 winner of the national gold key and American Voices Award as well as the Scholastic Art and Writing Award — reads her short short story, “The Rites of Spring” to kindred high schoolers and other visitors to Millsaps College.
Millsaps honors graduate Katie Hamm, who currently manages the Visitors Center for Eudora Welty House.
Al Young took this flashless shot of Eudora Welty reading “Why I Live at the P.O.,” her celebrated short story, during a screening of the rarely viewed 1975 PBS documentary at the Ford Academic Complex Recital Hall at Millsaps College, Jackson, MS
Mike Craver and Clyde Edgerton in their brilliant two-man performance of The Bible Salesman, Edgerton’s latest novel whose naive title character hires himself out to an itinerant car thief.
(L-R) Novelist Clyde Edgerton, Welty biographer Suzanne Marrs, Al Young, filmmaker and Welty Foundation head Jeanne Luckett, and novelist Alice Elliott Dark (Jackson, MS, October 2009)Â Â Â© C.B. Carroll
Â© Kara Wright
Michael Young with Johnny Echols at Spaceland, L.A., November 2009. “There was a Love reunion show with original guitarist Johnny Echols,” Michael writes, “and the later incarnation of the band that Arthur Lee toured with before he passed. They were smokin’!” Photographer Kara Wright adds: “What a memorable night.”