Al Young title

Archive for September, 2012


Thursday, September 20th, 2012



Click to reconnect





Ros Crenshaw

Renowned poet Eugene B. Redmond holds up one of three cakes (one for each decade) to kick off a four-day “Soul-lute” in East St. Louis, Illinois to honor his 75th birthday.


  Frank Buckingham

Lawrence Richman

Al Young and William (Bill) Mead, Design Director at the Art Institute of California (Graphic Design, Web Design & Interactive Media and Interior Design). Al delivered the commencement address to the Fall 2012 graduating class at Sacramento’s historic Crest Theater: “Analog Alchemy and Digital Magic: Consensual Text and Our Survival.” Bill designed this very website of Al’s, due soon for a facelift.


  Al Young

Autumn fiber | Mark & Judy’s kitchen in Moraga


Watch the 2012 American Book Awards at C-SPAN’s BookTV
October 7, 2012 | 2 hours, 33 minutes


2012 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Awards for Excellence in Literature | Oakland Public Library, Rockridge Branch, December 1, 2012

Oakland Public Library (Rockridge)

Click here for the complete list of 2012 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award winners and their works

Al Young
  Al Young

The Wordwind Chorus — saxophonist Lewis Jordan, poets Brian Auerbach and Q.R. Hand, Jr. (recipient of PEN Oakland’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award) — perform Reginald Lockett‘s classic “Oaktown, CA” to one happy crowd. A seated John Curl (author, activist and PEN Oakland treasurer) looks enthralled.

  Tennessee Reed

Q.R. Hand, Jr. receives the PEN Oakland Reginald Lockett Lifetime Achievement Award from Claire Ortalda with Ishmael Reed

  Tennessee Reed

2012 PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Award winners: [L-R] Q.R. Hand, Jr., Deena Metzger, Aurora Harris, Mary Mackey, Melinda Palacio, Michael Warr, Counterpunch editor Jeffrey St. Clair, and Daisy Cockburn, daughter of the late Alexander Cockburn, recipient of this year’s PEN Oakland Censorship Award.

Claire Ortalda

Aurora Harris, recipient of the 2012 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for Poetry (Solitude of Five Black Moons), with Al Young

   Courtesy photos

Novelist Deena Metzger (La Blanca y Negra: Fugue and Commentary) | Legendary memoirist/historian/social activist Ed Sanders (Fug You: An Informal History of the Peace Eye Bookstore, the Fuck You Press, the Fugs, and Counterculture in the Lower East Side)

Al Young

Longtime novelist-poet Mary Mackey weaves a spell in Kentucky-tinged California English and Brazilian Portuguese as she shares poems from her prize-winning, socially hard-hitting Sugar Zone.

Claire Ortalda

PEN Oakland Award winner Melinda Palacio (Ocotillo Dreams, a novel) with Lifetime Achievement poet Q.R. Hand, Jr. (Whose Really Blues), poetry-music chef Michael Warr (The Armageddon of Funk), and Al Young pose while poet-novelist Floyd Salas (PEN Oakland president) looks on.

Claire Ortalda

Ishmael Reed, Q.R. Hand, Jr., and Michael Warr


Melba J. Boyd
, Steve Dalachinsky,
Rafael Jesús González, Jill Nelson, Daniel A. Olivas,
Melinda Palacio, Eugene Redmond


  © Vernon Keeve III

Poet-novelist Opal Palmer Adisa and Al Young during a visit he paid to her Eco Poetry class at California College of the Arts, Oakland | 26 November 2012

   © Opal Adisa

With Opal Palmer Adisa‘s California College of the Arts students, Oakland campus, Al Young discusses nature poetry and “Silent Parrot Blues,” his dramatic essay that looks at unsuspected aspects of eco-racism. “Silent Parrot Blues” appears in The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World  (edited by Alison H. Deming and Lauret E. Savoy; Milkweed Editions) | 26 November 2012

  Click for bio/obituary

Anthropologist Mary Lewis (1938-2012)

Kamala Harris, Maurice Dawson, Al Young, [two as yet unidentified sisters], and Jim Lacey at the October 28, 2012 memorial service for the California Attorney General’s distinguished aunt: anthropologist Mary Lewis. Al and Mary attended Detroit’s Hutchins Intermediate school in the 1950s, then resumed their friendship in California in the 1960s. | Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, Oakland, CA


   Persis Karim

A Persis leaf


Lisa Alvarez and Al Young, Squaw Valley at Macondray Lane, San Francisco | October 2012

  © Al Young

Novelist Louis B. Jones, Squaw Valley at Macondray Lane, San Francisco | October 2012


   © Al Young

Osvaldo and Eddy Ancinas, Squaw Valley at Macondray Lane, San Francisco | October 2012 

  Al Young

Fall hits the wall


Elise Proulx

Poet and publisher Joyce Jenkins with fellow Detroiter Al Young at Litquake, Z Space, San Francisco, October 8, 2012, where Poetry Flash, the publication she founded with Richard Silberg in 1976, received the Barbary Coast Award.

 Liz Hafalia/The Chronicle SF

Joyce Jenkins at Poetry Flash, the home-office she and partner/board director Mark Baldridge share.

With poets Alan Soldofsky and Camille Dungy at Litquake San Francisco | October 2012



Noted sports journalist Joel Drucker, who studied with Al Young at UC Berkeley in the early 1980s | October 2012


Watch Mark Cohen’s video of the 55th reunion of Detroit Central High School’s Class of 1957

Photo: Mark Cohen

Al Young re-enters “the real autumn” |  Southfield, Michigan, October 2012

  Classmate Snapshot

Vivian Lieber, Helen Goldman Wilk, Al Young, Faye Mathis, Phoebe Alvarado | Detroit Central High graduates of 1957 attend their 55th reunion

  Classmate Snapshot

Al Young and one-time Detroit neighbor and classmate Henry Swift, whose vivid drawings, sketches and cartoons Al remembers warmly. Henry is the author of Ezra Jette Buffalo Soldier, a novel

  Classmate Snapshot

Journalist and author Berl Falbaum with Al Young at Detroit Central High School’s 55th reunion of the class of 1957 | Click on Berl’s name for his bio and bibliography


  Al Young

UC Berkeley Extension BART-targeted advertisement | © University of California


 Butterfly beautiful

© Vivian Torrence


Visit artist Vivian Torrence’s web site


The backroom at Alley Cat Books, Mission District, San Francisco | September 2012

Al Young
   Al Young

Guitarist Eric Paul with singer-composer Desirae Harp at Alley Cat Books ||| A soulful improviser, Desirae has just finished weaving music on the spot to a selection from Lorna Dee Cervantes’ Ciento: 100 100-Word Love Poems;. Next she braids melody to Al Young’s “The Subtlety of Everything is You” from The Sound of Dreams Remembered

Al Young

Lorna Dee Cervantes produces the monthly Alley Cat Poets reading series at San Francisco’s spacious, cozy Mission District bookstore




AMERICAN PUSSY RIOT | Vadim Nikitin (NY Times)

Saturday, September 1st, 2012


  Denis Sinyakov/Reuters

The Wrong Reasons to Back Pussy Riot

NY Times
August 20, 2012

From Madonna to Bjork, from the elite New Yorker to the populist Daily Mail, the world united in supporting Russia’s irreverent feminist activists Pussy Riot against the blunt cruelty inflicted on them by the state. It may not have stopped Vladimir Putin’s kangaroo court from sentencing them to two years in prison on charges of hooliganism, but blanket international media pressure helped turn the case into a major embarrassment for the Kremlin.

Yet there is something about the West’s embrace of the young women’s cause that should make us deeply uneasy, as Pussy Riot’s philosophy, activism and even music quickly took second place to its usefulness in discrediting one of America’s geopolitical foes. Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, are dissident intellectuals once again in danger of becoming pawns in the West’s anti-Russian narrative?

Back in the ’70s, the United States and its allies cared little about what Soviet dissidents were actually saying, so long as it was aimed against the Kremlin. No wonder so many Americans who had never read Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s books cheered when he dissed the Soviet Union later felt so shocked, offended and even betrayed when he criticized many of the same shortcomings in his adoptive homeland. Wasn’t this guy supposed to be on our side?

© 2012

Go to the NY Times original to read all of Vadim Nikitin’s op-ed


Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press
The Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich sit in a glass cage on Wednesday in a courtroom in Moscow. | August 8, 2012

Pussy Riot interview