May 20th, 2013
KPFA Radio & La PeĂ±a Cultural Center present
Fresh from Cuba, the celebrated poet and public intellectual
Presented by AL YOUNG
California Poet Laureate emeritus, novelist, essayist
& Kathleen WeaverÂ
poet, biographer, translator
Thursday, June 13, 7:30 pm
La PeĂ±a Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94705
$10 advance tickets, $12 door:Â Â Â www.Lapena.org
benefit for KPFA + La PeĂ±a
NANCY MOREJĂ“NÂ is the best known and most widely translated woman poet of post-revolutionary Cuba. Born in 1944 in Havana to a militant dock worker and a trade-unionist seamstress, MorejĂłn graduated from Havana University. She was Cubaâ€™s first black woman poet to be internationally acclaimed as a poet. Her distinctive poetry is shaped by an Afro-Cuban sensibility and an eloquent concern for Cuban nationhood, cultural fusion, and the rights of women. She has published more than twenty volumes of poetry, as well as critical works and translations from French and English. Her works in English translation include Looking Within / Mirar adentro, Selected Poems 1954-2000, Where the Island Sleeps Like a Wing, translated by U.S. poet Kathleen Weaver, and With Eyes and Soul/Images of Cuba with photographs by Milton Rogovin.Â For many years, MorejĂłn served on the editorial staff of UNEAC (Union of Cuban Writers and Artists). Currently she is president of the Cuban Writersâ€™ Union, UNEAC, and an advisor at Casa de las Americas in Havana.
Â MorejĂłn has won Cubaâ€™s prestigious National Literary Award, the National Prize for Poetry, and the National Award in Criticism â€“ as well as many international awards, including the Latin American Studies Association Cuba Prize. Thoroughly bilingual, she has read and lectured at universities in the U.S.Â She served as writer in residence at Wellesley College and conducted a two-day symposium on her work at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Howard University Press has published a collection of critical texts on her work: Singular Like a Bird: The Art of Nancy MorejĂłn.
AL YOUNGÂ is a distinguished writer, poet, fiction writer, anthologist, and educator. HisÂ many honors include Poet Laureate of California, the PEN-Library of Congress Award for Short Fiction, the PEN-USA Award for Non-Fiction, two American Book Awards, and the Richard Wright Award for Excellence in Literature. His writings have been translated into many languages, including Russian, and Urdu. His works in fiction include Seduction By Light and Sitting Pretty; in poetry, Something About the Blues, and Coastal Nights and Inland Afternoons: Poems 2001-2006.
Â In the 1970â€™s Young wrote film scripts for producer Joseph Strick, Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, and Richard Pryor. In the 1980â€™s and 90â€™s, as a cultural ambassador for the United States Information Agency, he traveled throughout South Asia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian West Bank. In 2001 he traveled to the Persian Gulf to lecture on American and African American literature and culture in Kuwait and in Bahrain for the U.S. Department of State. Subsequent lecture tours have taken him to Southern Italy in 2004, and back to India in 2005.. Blending story, recitation and song, Young often performs live with musicians. In 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him Poet Laureate of California.
Â Kathleen Weaver is a poet, author of the biography, Peruvian Rebel,The Life and Work of Magda Portal; co-editor of The Penguin Book of Womensâ€™ Poetry and The Other Voice; translator ofÂ Nancy MorejĂłn, Julio CortĂˇzar, Omar Cabezas, and many others.
NOTE: Nancy MorejĂłn and Kathleen Weaver will also appear Sunday, June 9, in San Francisco at the Emerald Tablet
Contact: Bob BaldockÂ |Â firstname.lastname@example.orgÂ |Â 510.848.5006
Nancy MorejĂłn reads at the First International Festival of Poetry of Resistance, Toronto 2009
Â “Mujer Negra,” a poem by Nancy MorejĂłn translated by Kathleen Weaver @ Tumblr
I still smell the foam of the sea they made me cross.
The night, I can not remember it.
The ocean itself could not remember that …
TodavĂa huelo la espuma del mar que me hicieron atravesar.
La noche, no puedo recordarla.
Ni el mismo ocĂ©ano podrĂa recordarla …
Â© La PeĂ±a Cultural Center
April 25th, 2013
SFJAZZ Poetry Festival: Icons
SFJAZZ Poet Laureate Ishmael Reed brings a diverse group of poets center stage, many riffing with improvising instrumentalists. Following each nightâ€™s final performance, young poets will have a chance to get onstage during an open-mic session and perform their work beginning around 10:30PM.
The first annual SFJAZZ Jazz Poetry Festival features a diverse cast of poets â€“ among them the stateâ€™s current poet laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, the celebrated feminist poet Lorna Dee Cervantes, the elegant Beat writer Michael McClure and Reed himself â€“ many performing with improvising instrumentalists. Those musicians include such gifted Bay Area players as woodwind master Melecio Magdaluyo, jamming with poet and performance artist Genny Lim on June 7. The following night, Reed mixes it up with pianist Mary Watkins, on a bill with the commanding Al Young, performing his poetry with bassist Dan Robbins.
â€śFor SFJAZZâ€™s first annual Jazz Poetry Festival, we have assembled some of the most prominent Bay Area poets, some of whom will be accompanied by some of the finest local musicians,â€ť says Reed, a prolific writer of poems, essays, novels and plays who taught for decades at UC Berkeley. â€śThis may be the most exciting and diverse poetry festival held in San Francisco in recent years.â€ť
April 18th, 2013
POETRY IN MOTOWN | April 2013
March 30th, 2013
click on the eiffel tower
JJWebb/Cruzio Blues CafĂ©
To animate the avatar of Al Young reading and singing with the Dartanyan Brown Trio, click here.
Dartanyan Brown, bass | Jorge Molina, piano | Sly Randolph, drums
APRIL IN PARIS
It was here in that one-time, one-step, lighted blue
of Paris at ease, close to the Cluny, in splendid,
straight-up noontime shadow that your slow and
measuring eyes met more than their burning match.
The smooth warmth of your whisper along my neck,
the nappy back of it, where you’d peeled back
its soft, excited collar to tell me everything you’d learned
or discerned in a city where love and prices flirt.
A product of standstill winters, sudden summers, sultry
prejudice, and heartland steak-and-whiskey afternoons,
you’d blown in from the States, an orphan of the arts –
Mary Cassatt, Josephine Baker, Mary Lou Williams,
Jean Seberg. What breathlessness overtakes me here?
Brushing and combing out memories of your touch,
in a season as uncertain as coastal fog moving inland
from the loveless edges of that country we’d both fled,
I shiver. Whom could we run to if not one another?
Back home we knew what it was like to be the other –
displaced, despised, imprisonable. We watched and fought.
The colors of loss deepened. Yearning to break free,
unconsciously American, we counted our chickens, certain
that the ships we’d always banked on would sail in.
In Paris, our adopted country of each other’s arms,
whose borders blurred all time, all common market sense,
we saved the slow but steady squeeze of night, of time,
the way it smothered darkness, the way it mothered light.
The April of your frightened French was like that, too;
you had no words for holiday tables, for chestnuts in bloom.
Parisian light, like light at home — Detroit, Des Moines —
lit up your waifish eyes. I said, “Think twice before you speak.”
Over here you mostly knew the blues; rue rhymed with blue.
There couldn’t be too much light, too much touch.
Â© 2001, 2006, 2008 by Al Young
Animation and design
Â© 2008 by J.J. Webb a.k.a. Beau Blue
March 28th, 2013
Co-host Clara Hsu interviews featured poet Al Young at San Francisco’s Open Mic Poetry Podcast TV show produced by co-host John Rhodes. Al reads from Offline Love, his latest poem collection as yet unpublished. Other poet guests included Jack Foley, Cassandra Dallett and Martin Hickel. | March 26, 2013
The illustrious Al Young, Poet Laureate of California from 2005-2008 reads today (March 26) on both Clara Hsu’s and John Rhodes’ segments of Poetry TV. Here is one of the shorter bios of Al Young from the Poetry Foundation: Poet, novelist, and professor Al Young was born in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. He attended the University of Michigan before moving to the San Francisco Bay area, where he earned a BA in Spanish from the University of California-Berkeley. Young often reads to musical accompaniment, and his poetry reflects his interest in music, specifically jazz and blues, as well as his life in California. His collections of poetry are Dancing (1969), The Song Turning Back Into Itself (1971), The Blues Don’t Change: New and Selected Poems (1982), Heaven: Collected Poems, 1956-1990 (1992), The Sound of Dreams Remembered: Poems, 1990-2000 (2001), Coastal Nights and Inland Afternoons: Poems, 2001-2006 (2006), and Something About the Blues: An Unlikely Collection of Poetry (2008). Young has written several musical memoirs: Bodies & Soul (1981), winner of the American Book Award; Kinds of Blue (1984); Things Ain’t What They Used to Be (1987); and Drowning in the Sea of Love (1995). He is also the author of five novels, including Who Is Angelina? (1976) and Seduction By Light (1988). Young was a Jones lecturer in Creative Writing at Stanford University from 1969 to 1979. Since then, he has taught at a number of universities, among them Bowling Green State University, the University of California-Santa Cruz, the University of Washington, and Rice University. He was appointed the 2002 Lurie Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at San JosĂ© State University and McGee Professor of Writing at Davidson College in 2003. He has traveled globally as a cultural ambassador for the United States Information Agency and delivered lectures on literature and culture for the US Department of State. Young has received a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Arnold Schwarzenegger He was named poet laureate of California in 2005. He currently teaches creativity and imaginative writing at California College of the Arts, San Francisco.
Part 2 of Al Young’s Open Mic Poetry Podcast reading (with co-hosts Clara Hsu & John Rhodes)
See all episodes of San Francisco Open Mic Poetry Podcast on Public Access TV
Visit San Francisco Open Mic Poetry Podcast on Public Access TV’s series page