Al Young title

Archive for March, 2010


Sunday, March 21st, 2010

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” Mark Twain


Robin Susan Slapin © Susan Slapin

spkr-icon “The song a robin sings/Through years of endless springs …”“Stella By Starlight” (Victor Young & Ned Washington, composers ~ © Sony/ATV Music)

MayDay Susan Slapin © Susan Slapin

Of this shot with a resplendent Northern Cascades defining all else, Susan Slapin of Orcas Island, WA writes: “I love photography, in case you haven’t noticed. This morning — lots o’ birds here! Seagulls walking on North Beach, on Crescent Beach — herons and Canadian geese.”


left out in the rain     stone buddha       clad in robe of green

Gary Gach

Green Moss Buddha

The Buddhist Channel

palms joined



The 2010 PEN-Faulkner Awards
May 6-7, Washington, DC
The Folger Shakespeare Library

800px-Folger_Shakespeare_Library_DC click to zoom

Photos by Claire Duggan


From left to right: emcee Gwen Ifill, finalist Lorrie Moore, finalist Lorraine López, finalist Colson Whitehead, judge Kyoko Mori, winner Sherman Alexie, judge Rilla Askew, finalist Barbara Kingsolver, and judge Al Young.  |  Photo courtesy of Claire Duggan

Read the story behind the shot at PEN/Faulkner
View the Folger Shakespeare Library’s photostream at Flickr

Previous announcement of the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Awards for Fiction at
each title clickable

The Lacuna smallHomicide Surv smallA Gate at the Stairs smallsag harbor

War Dance Alexie small


sherman_alexie_pen_faulkner_claire_duggan © Claire Duggan

Sherman Alexie: Winner of the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award for War Dances.

Al signs © Claire Duggan

Before the awards ceremony begins at Washington, DC’s Folger Shakespeare Library, PEN-Faulkner judge Al Young signs citations he has composed for honored writers Colson Whitehead and Sherman Alexie.
||| spkr-icon Audio clip of Al Young’s citation for War Dances, winner Sherman
Alexie‘s “rollicking, bittersweet gem of a book.”

Kris Shea pins Al -M © Claire Duggan

Popular DC dance therapist Kris O’Shea pins the corsage to Al’s lapel while her out-of-frame spouse — novelist Alan Cheuse of NPR book review fame — looks on.

Diane Sherman Lorrie

© Claire Duggan

Diane Alexie and authors Sherman Alexie and Lorrie Moore captured in timeless black & white at the 2010 PEN-Faulkner Awards reception.

Gwen & Rilla

© Claire Duggan

Renowned broadcast journalist Gwen Ifill and PEN-Faulkner judge and author Rilla Askew meet and greet.

Kyoko & Lisa- © Claire Duggan

Kyoko Mori & GuestsNovelist and judge Kyoko Mori and newly elected PEN-Faulkner president Lisa Page swap pleasantries with two excited guests.


Kyoko & Al
© Claire Duggan

PEN-Faulkner Award judges Kyoko Mori and Al Young who, up until Awards weekend, had only known each other through writings, books, emails and telephone conferences.

Dining Folger © Claire Duggan

The Folger Shakespeare Library dining room.

Colson Whitehead Sherman Alexie
Colson Whitehead and Sherman Alexie

Beverly Lowry Al Diane © Claire Duggan

Novelist-biographer-memoirist Beverly Lowry and daughter Melissa with Al Young at the 2010 PEN-Faulkner Awards.



MUCHAS VOCES/UNA VISIÓN ~ MANY VOICES/ONE VISION: La Peña Benefit for Doctors Without Borders

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

la peña mural


jannie dresser Read SF columnist Jannie Dresser’s  announcement of this vivid event




Muchas Voces Una Visión
Many Voices One Vision

Sunday March 28, 2010

$10 suggested donation – 7-10 pm
No one turned away for lack of funds

La Peña Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94705 ~ MapQuest

Muchas Voces Una Visión
Many Voices One Vision

Collective poetry reading by more than 35 Bay Area poets as a benefit for the relief efforts of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières in Haiti and Concepción, Chile; with San Francisco poet laureate Diane di Prima as special guest poet.

Come and celebrate César Chávez Day on Sunday March 28, 2010 at La Peña in Berkeley

<< la >>

Special Guest Poet

Diane di Prima by Bill Wilson 2009 Photo © Bill Wilson

Diane di Prima
San Francisco poet laureate

Devorah Major
Jack Hirschman

Former San Francisco poets laureate

Mary Rudge
Alameda poet laureate

Geri Digiorno
Former poet laureate of Sonoma County

Al Young
California poet laureate emeritus

Adrián Arias • Alejandro Murguía • Boadiba • Carlos Barón • Daniel del Solar • Decoy • Dorinda Moreno • Evelie Delfino • Fernando Torres • Francisco X. Alarcón • Francisco Letelier • Genny Lim • Graciela Ramírez • Jack & Adelle Foley • Jennifer Andrea Porras • Jennifer Fox Bennett • Jewelle Gómez • JoAnn Anglin • Joyce Jenkins • La Tigresa •
Lorna Dee Cervantes • Lucha Corpi • Mamacoatl • Marc Piñate • Nicole Limón • Nina Serrano • Nellie Wong • Odilia Galván Rodríguez • Paul Lobo Portugues • Roberto Vargas • Rosa Escamilla • Samuel Iñiguez • Sharon Doubiago •
Lisa Bernstein

Lisa B Lisa B


roberto vargas 2008 Courtesy photo

Roberto Vargas

At the end of 2009, poet Roberto Vargas sent an e-mail message inviting several Bay Area poets to contribute poems to a collective poetry project. Many poets responded by writing and sharing new poems. As a direct result of this process poets Nina Serrano and Francisco X. Alarcon read some of their new poems as part of “La Raza Chronicles” radio show at KPFA in Berkeley on Tuesday January 12, 2010. They decided to organize a collective poetry reading at La Peña and have San Francisco Poet Laureate Diane di Prima as a guest poet of honor.

Soon after Nina and Francisco learned about the devastation and human tragedy of the earthquake in Haiti that took place around the time they were taping the KPFA radio show, they decided to make this event a benefit for relief efforts in Haiti by Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières. Fernando Torres and other La Peña staff decided to volunteer their time for this poetry reading/benefit that will take place at La Peña on Sunday March 28. It was decided that this event was also to be dedicated as a community celebration of César Chávez Day. After the devastating 8.8 earthquake of February 27 in Chile, the organizers are dedicating this poetry reading also to all the victims of this latest catastrophe.


[click to enlarge]_
Roi & Diane 1960 Fred W McDarrahPhoto © Fred W. McDarrah

LeRoi Jones and Diane di Prima at the Cedar Tavern, Greenwich Village, April 5, 1960


101866-06.09.mural.ANDERSON-02 Photo © Brad Anderson

La Peña ~ 3105 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA ~ 510.849.2568
Sunday, March 28 from 7 to 9:30 pm



Wednesday, March 17th, 2010


drone_pic Courtesy photo

Rhymes with phone or moan and

means: I’ve grown so dense and lazy

I can’t even be bothered to bomb you

personally, so I dispatch a robot to rob you,

relieve you of everything you thought

rightful or yours. Rhymes with snores.

— Al Young

© 2010 by Al Young


Ishmael Reed: THE SELLING OF ‘PRECIOUS’ ~ Hollywood’s Enduring Myth of the Black Male Sexual Predator

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010



precious herself
Gabourey Sidibe as Precious


precious-movie1 View trailer

ish reed crown publishers Courtesy of Crown Publishers

Ishmael Reed

Renowned poet-novelist-essayist-playwright Ishmael Reed unpacks the motion picture Precious — recipient of two Oscars at this year’s Academy Awards — based on Push, a novel published in 2009 by the poet-novelist Sapphire (Ramona Lofton).

fmr firstlady bush Courtesy photo

Barbara Bush

Not only did former First Lady Barbara Bush review Precious for Newsweek; she and her husband held two private screenings at their home. Recently,” she wrote, “George and I hosted a special sneak preview of Precious in our hometown, Houston. The audience of 200 included young people and old, teachers and corporate executives, parents and grandparents, and folks of just about every ethnic and economic background. I planned to say a few words when the movie was over—but I was speechless. (My husband would tell you that is highly unusual.)” Written before Mrs. Bush’s Newsweek account appeared, Reed’s 25,000-word consciousness-expanding essay was posted online in early December at CounterPunch.


Read Ishmael Reed’s “The Selling of Precious


precious mother mo'nique

Mo’Nique: Recipient of the 2010 Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Precious’ mother



Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Button-Play-32x32 HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY, ORNETTE ~ Jazz on the Tube
Born March 9, 1930 at Fort Worth, Texas

38px-Speaker_Icon.svg Jazz scholar Phil Schaap’s radio celebration of Ornette’s 80th


shape of jazzchange of the centurythis is our musicornette golden circlefree jazzornette!love callchappaqua suite

ornette_coleman felver
© Chris Felver

Ornette Coleman

Ornette Coleman .Friedlander.06
© 2006 by Lee Friedlander / New York Times

Ornette Coleman biography at

Nate Chinen: Ornette Coleman, Starring as Himself (New York Times, 27 September 2009)

Ben Ratliff: Seeking the Mystical Inside the Music (New York Times, 22 September 2006)

jazz_ornette_coleman_v22500803_ © John Abbott/Photography



Courtesy of Justin Desmangles

Ornette muraled in at 15th & F Streets, Sacramento, CA

A special edition of Brian Ang’s Farewell Transmission, hosted this week by Justin Desmangles, celebrating Ornette Coleman, born March 9, 1930.

A special edition of Brian Ang’s Farewell Transmission, hosted by Justin Desmangles, continuing the celebration of  Ornette Coleman.


Ornette smiles Courtesy photo

Button-Play-32x32 Ornette Coleman Quartet ~ ROMA 1974 #1