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La Verne, California

March 11-15, 2013

‘Laureate speaks out for poetic truth’

Al Lectures@La Verne by Hunter Cole
Hunter Cole / (ULV) Campus Times

“Can Poetry Save Our Planet?” — Woodrow Wilson Visiting Lecturer Al Young asks and answers this question in his delivery of the Honors Lecture at the University of La Verne in Southern California.



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Wingate, North Carolina

Glimpses of Al Young’s February 18-22, 2013 stay as a Visiting Woodrow Wilson Fellow

Wingate Redbrick Bronze
Founded 1896

Stegall Admin Bldg  © Wingate University

Stegall Administration Building by Stegall Pond, Wingate’s crown jewel | Wingate University

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 P1000867 Marisa Wheeling

Al with Wingate honors students, student leaders and faculty members at a gala Wednesday night dinner.

Photo: Kindness of Strangers

Marisa Wheeling, Director of Special Academic Programs, poses with Al at Holbrook Hall following the sumptuous honors dinner.

Monroe Middle School & Wingate Band
Courtesy Union County (NC) Public Schools |
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Monroe Middle School musicians perform with the Wingate University Band.

Al@Wingate Starbucks Marisa Wheeling

Al in the writing teacher mode at Wingate University’s on-campus Starbucks.

Ethel K Smith Library © Wingate University

Ethel K. Smith Library | Wingate University

Marisa Wheeling

Another morning visit to Wingate’s sparkling Ethel K. Smith Library, where the writer-reader Al felt right at home.


Poetry at Night

Boadiba & Al @ Specs
© Martin/Poet News

Haitian poet Boadiba and Al Young relax at Spec’s in North Beach following their Thursday night reading at San Francisco’s Readers Café | 7 February 2013

Boadiba read-sings  Al Young

Boadiba read-sings a poem-song

January 12, 2010 a 7.0 earthquake hits Haiti

“For Boadiba”
(a poem by Tennessee Reed)


Jack Hirshfield introduces 7Feb13 Al Young

Jack Hirschman introduces poets Boadiba and Al Young to the Readers Café audience at Fort Mason, San Francisco


February 5, 2013

Photos: Persis Karim and Philip Lewenthal

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Council Clock Lewenthal

Al Laughs 5Feb2013Persis Karim
Proclamation City of Berkeley

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Brian Edwards-Tiekert celebrates Al Young Day on KPFA’s ‘Up Front’

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WASHINGTON – The City of Berkeley has officially proclaimed Feb. 5 to be “Al Young Day” in honor of the state’s most well-known African American poet. Voice of Russia correspondent Kim Palchikoff spoke with Al Young, California’s poet laureate emeritus, about what makes a great poem, and what inspires him.

Al Young Day TV Monitor

Al Sings to Berkeley City Council Philip Lewenthal

Al Young sings the Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson blues lyric that serves as epigraph to the title poem for Offline Love, his new as yet unpublished book.

Al w: Tulips 5Feb13
Persis Karim

Author Tennessee Reed and ceramic artist Susan Duhan Felix cheer as Al Young acknowledges his Berkeley-bestowed honor.

 Mayor Tom Bates Al Young Day
Persis Karim

Mayor Tom Bates congratulates and presents the City Council proclamation to Berkeley’s Al Young.

 Al & Susan Felix 5Feb13
Persis Karim

Al Young and Berkeley arts ambassador Susan Duhan Felix


Al Young Day Proclamation

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Musica Jazz Al Young 2

With his Al Young: Synthesis of Blues and Poetry,’ Luciano Federighi, a longtime translator of Young’s prose and poetry, celebrates Al Young Day in the February 2013 issue of Italy’s Música Jazz. |||Dear Al, to give my humble contribution to Berkeley’s Al Young Day, I send you this article just published on the February issue of Música Jazz. I’ve recently started again my old Tempo di Blues column for the magazine and I’ve felt like celebrating the blues side of your marvelous poetry.”


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To celebrate
AL YOUNG DAY in Berkeley February 5, 2013

KPFA logo

Cover to Cover with Jack Foley | February 6, 2013
February 5 was Al Young Day in Berkeley. Jack celebrates that wonderful event by interviewing Al and encouraging him to read some of his entirely terrific poetry. Al and Jack cover the waterfront about this brilliant Mississippi-born, Detroit-raised California poet laureate. Al reveals how he can’t get started—and clues us into the identity of the elusive O.O. Gabugah. Listen to Al as he uncovers “dreams so long deferred / that laser-lined Thought Police 100 years from now / still can’t decrypt the meaning of their blood; / their blues.”

Photo by Vû

Al Young and Jack Foley pose for Adelle Foley after taping a lengthy interview for Cover to Cover, Jack’s popular Wednesday afternoon KPFA radio show devoted to authors, books and literary cultures. | January 2013

Persis Karim

Tree Worship [13 photos]
“Inside the soul of a tree. It’s like two cells dividing.”

Persis Karim


A Woman’s Eye, Mixed Media, San Francisco Peace and Hope

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Al & Elizabth Hack 2Feb2013 Philip Lewewnthal

Al Young and painter Elizabeth Hack at the AWE Gallery opening for The Wave Series, her mixed media exhibit (February 3-24, 2013). The artist also founded and edits San Francisco Peace and Hope, a literary journal devoted to poetry and visual art.


January Wary

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Marvin's Mona Lisa Al Young
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With mic in hand, Marvin Hiemstra performs his just-published Mona Lisa poem. 

marvin & company
Marvin & Company

3300 Nancy Keane +Poetry Audience Saturday Al Young
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Saturday afternoon poetry audience at San Francisco’s 3300 Club (Satisfied owner-poet Nancy Keane in red watches from behind the bar).  |  

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Nancy Keane reads her poetry on John Rhodes & Clara Hsu’s Open Mic Poetry TV in a shared billing with Geri Digiorno, her sister

  Geri-Al-chez-3300-500x375  Bill Vartnaw

Poets Geri Digiorno and Al Young, smile pretty for Bill Vartnaw, publisher and editor of Taurean Horn Books, and Sonoma County’s current poet laureate.

Geri-Bill-Vartnaw-500x375 Al Young

Poets laureate Geri Digiorno and Bill Vartnaw enjoying one of emcee Jeanne Powell‘s slyly tendered back-stories.


Waiting for Barry Harris at the Village Vanguard

Barry Harris shows his master class how he plays the blues

Courtesy photos

Q | What do pianist Barry Harris, ethnomusicologist Mark Slobin, and psycholinguist Dan Slobin share?

A | All three Detroiters have been friends to Al Young since the 1950s. Dan and Mark emailed this snapshot of themselves while they waited for Barry to begin his opening Friday night set at New York’s Village Vanguard, January 18, 2013.


What December Remembers

Maria Syndicus

Holidays chez Prez 2012

Click image to enlarge  |  Photo: Takeema Hoffman

Running, Jumping, Standing Still, the MFA in Writing seminar, at the December close of California College of the Arts’ 2012 fall semester, San Francisco | (back row L-R) William Hughes, Chloé Veylit, Dahlia Baeshen, Sarah Bushman, Jill Tydor, Vernon Keeve III,  Erin Ginder-Shaw, Maggie Heaps; (front row L-R) Ariel Cohen, Kristin Adochio, Al Young

Photo: Al Young

Balcony perch, Key West, Florida | January 2005




Blue-pink, December sky blackens
into the giant Christmas Eve we crave
so much we lock it down,
pimp it out, and all but buy.
— Al Young



One Response to “WINTER TAKE ALL”

  1. Marlene Lily Says:

    Hi Al, It’s been many years, but I want to thank you for your kind comments on “Words Are the Last Resort,” back in 1978. I’m sure we’ve both lived many lifetimes since then. You must know Guy Johnson, so if you should happen to see him, tell him I said Hi.

    I actually sang at Mem Chu a couple years ago with the Threshold Choir, but it couln’t hold a candle to singing with Frank Wyatt and Canzadie Johnson at Community Baptist Church in Santa Rosa. It’s easy to get spoiled.

    Today I discovered a new baby food called Gerber’s “Graduates: lil’ crunchies.” If you read the recent NY Times article on how the big food companies spend millions to get children addicted to food, it will burn you up, just like it burned me when I saw the package in Franklin Park.

    A child in Maryland is already suing Gerbers for selling fluoridated products that damaged her teeth.

    Should you want to call, rather than write, I’m at 707-573-9464.



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