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Archive for January, 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (January 15, 1928 – April 4, 1968)

Saturday, January 17th, 2015


“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Francis Miller / Life

Happy Birthday to You

Stevie © Liam Yeates



‘Most of you have no idea what Martin Luther King actually did’ — HamdenRice


Photographer Gordon Parks’ Never-Before-Seen Pictures of 1950s USA Apartheid
(Huffington Post)

Shoes Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks was only a teenager when he left his hometown of Fort Scott, Kansas. The youngest of 15, Parks chose to make a living for himself after his mother passed away, and wound up becoming the first African American photographer for Life Magazine.

© Huffington


Selma Clickable

The political and historical issues in Selma (World Socialist Website)

Never Forget that Martin Luther King, Jr. Was Hated by White America (The Daily Kos)


‘The King We Need’
Charles R. Johnson
(Lion’s Roar: Buddhist Wisdom for Our Time)

Dr. King's Fridge

Dr. King’s Refrigerator & Other Bedtime Stories


lbj & martin-luther-king-jr

President Lyndon Baines Johnson and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

(Photo: Yoichi Okamoto/Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum)

Tavis Smiley’s ‘DEATH OF A KING’




The biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Michael Ochs | Time | Getty Images

Born in Atlanta, Martin Luther King, Jr. moved to Montgomery, AL, with his new wife Coretta in 1955 after King accepted a position as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. King met Coretta while he was studying for his Ph.D. at Boston University and they were married in June 1953. Yolanda, their first child, above, was born in November 1955.

© Gene Herrick/AP

Coretta Scott King welcomes her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as he leaves a courtroom in Montgomery, Alabama, on March 22, 1956

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X

Photo circa 1964 – Herman Hiller, New York World-Telegram & Sun – Released into the public domain by the original copyright owner

President Lyndon Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the White House, March 1966

(Photo: Yoichi Okamoto/Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum)



Audiobook available

Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam

This post features a KPFA Pacifica audio and transcript of the full, lesser known sermon delivered at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA, April 30, 1967
The text and audio of “Beyond Vietnam,” the widely circulated sermon of April 4, 1967 (delivered at Riverside Church, NYC), may be viewed here at a link to Stanford University’s Martin Luther King, Jr.Papers Project


MARK BALDRIDGE (1948 – 2014)

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015


markbaldridge Baldridge Family photo

Mark Baldridge

The man behind the Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival: Mark Baldridge, 1948-2014

By Sharon Coleman

For decades, Berkeley has been enriched by a vibrant literary community with poetry at its heart, as we see in downtown Berkeley’s Addison Street Poetry Walk. At the heart of the poetry community since 1972 has been Poetry Flash, a hub for reviews, articles, event listings, and presenter of many singular literary events. And at the heart of Poetry Flash since 1995 has been Mark Baldridge, in so many capacities from board member to web master, but most notably as Director of the annual Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival.

When Robert Hass was named first U. S. Poet Laureate from the West in 1995, he joined in meetings at International Rivers Network with poets and ecologists to discuss “Nature and the American Imagination,” the theme of his laureateship, and to think of ways to engage the public using poetry. Having left a corporate career and started his own small advertising agency, hungry to do something real, Mark attended these meetings. From the discussions came the idea for the first Watershed Festival that took place in April 1996 at the Bandshell of Golden Gate Park.

Over a thousand people attended to hear poets Joy Harjo, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, and others. With Joyce Jenkins, editor and publisher of Poetry Flash, Mark wrote a major grant to the Creative Work Fund for “Down to Earth: Fifty-foot Rubbing Panels.” These were wooden panels carved in bas-relief by New Zealand artist Shane Eagleton that people could place paper over and make a rubbing. On them were designs, embedded driftwood, and a poem by Robert Hass. The grant came through, and the panels were unveiled at the Festival along with a sculpture, also by Eagleton, of a life-size humpback whale and baby whale carved from a single storm-salvaged redwood log. Joining the big poets on the stage were many children also sharing their poetry. It was huge and magical. And became an annual event

arrow wee

 Go to the Berkeleyside original
to read this obituary in full

© 2015 by Sharon Coleman/Berkeleyside



At Copperfield’s Books in Petaluma, CA (2008), poet Joyce Jenkins — in the musical company of her partner Mark Baldridge, a feeling flautist — reads from Joy Road and other recent work. |  Photo: Al Young

“Boom! Just Like That!”
Al Young’s memorial poem
for Mark Baldridge


‘BOOM! JUST LIKE THAT!’ — In memory of Mark Baldridge (1948-2014)

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015


Photo Al Young

At Copperfield’s Books in Petaluma, CA (2008), poet Joyce Jenkins — in the musical company of her partner Mark Baldridge, a feeling flautist — reads from Joy Road, and other recent work.


In memory of Mark Baldridge

I didn’t know about Peet’s Coffees or how early on
you, its PR savior, penned poem-like ads for Peet’s
you welcomed Joyce to validate — or rate at least.
I, the lonely long-distance runner, didn’t know you,
the shining long-distance swimmer. You cooked.
The fluent German you spoke – I didn’t know about
this, either. Joyce did. You hid nothing. I blinked.

I didn’t know you were Cleveland-born, blue collar,
before GM moved the plant out to Santa Barbara.
My dad worked for GM, too, for Chevrolet, the line.
I didn’t know you as a near-Motor City émigré like
me, like Joyce, like Motown Records up and moving
Detroit to L.A. (“Now, what I say?” – Marvin Gaye)
Boom! Just like that! What went wrong? Why?
And I could tell you if you really want to know.

Distance without measure clocks us, gauges
the breadth of our ignorance. And when it comes
to one another, we don’t know shit. Laws of motion?
Dreams? Hey, kind silence lets us breathe. Moot,
its reckless, pointless calculus invites, enshrines.

You liked your music classical. You loved flautists or
flutists, whatever they called themselves: Jean-Pierre
Rampal, James Galway, bamboo flute masters —
you loved them all. Until Petaluma, the Poetry Walk,
and Geri Digiorno’s intro, the sound of sweet Joyce’s
Joy Road, Detroit poems, who knew you blew flute?
I didn’t. But, Mark, there you beamed. Hers. His.
Soulful, a unit, you two, now united, now untied.

Music-stand and chops, you said, “I’ve got your back.”
Right behind your partner’s side, you fingered silver.
You sang each other. We’re talking verse. The twists,
the turns, repeats I couldn’t guess; melodies in keys
we shared for sure. I got your heartbeat, though.
I loved the chords. I felt the flash, your hush, I breathed;
a watershed (Wasserscheide) in the history of back-stories.
How coffees, once illicit, light us up! No sugars, no creams.
Please, Mark. I didn’t know to thank you until now.

Al Young
13 January 2015
© 2015


Photo courtesy of the Baldridge Family

‘The Man Behind the Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival:
Mark Baldridge, 1948-2014’

By Sharon Coleman
Berkeleyside logo
(January 8, 2015)


Mark & Joyce 2008 magnifying_glass_icon

Mark Baldridge and Joyce Jenkins,
Petaluma Poetry Walk, 2008
(Photo: Al Young)


JEAN PUMPHREY (1931-2014) In Memoriam

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015


Jean Pumphrey 2008


In memory of Jean Pumphrey (1931-2014)

You sighed and smiled out from an island

culture and nature still treasure, still bless.

Yes, Jean, who else can this mean but you,

blushing Audrey of the hungering heart,

a sucker for artistry and art? You taught

the same way you fought dark ignorance

in Saint Matthew’s realm. Your sweet secret:

let silenced light shine — around the body

poetry loves; not bodies of seawater, not astral.

No body of experts. Bodies. Just the light

around the body poet Robert Bly got the blues

about, right around the time we met, San Mateo,

the 1970s, just when the mythic Sixties kicked in

and scared out the sacred from us, what little hell

we had left. We loved Bly’s blues. Ears wide open

to cries in all keys, you listened. You let pupils,

patients set the beat. Spirit-leashed, your god-dog,

Rumi, ushered you through blinding nights.

You uttered peace. Sheltered at the edge, the light

around the body longs to leak and blend with all

it knows it is. You told us, Jean, you sighed, you

smiled, you lived to reach and teach, to touch to heal.

— Al Young

© 2015 Al Young


Photo: Kindness of Strangers

Poets Al Young, Jean Pumphrey and Glenna Luschei | San Francisco 2008



A 2015 Overhaul for AlYoung.Org

Sunday, January 4th, 2015



Al @ Carole Harris Studio Detroit 2014

Photo; Melba Boyd

Gradually, here in 2015, you’ll watch an updated version of AlYoung.Org unfold at this very link.

It’s about time, don’t you think?