It is National Poetry Month and on Thursday 4/20 my students were getting high off poetry!!! Eric Devaughn, aka spoken word artist T.R.U.E. Thought Requires Uncommon Effort came to my high school classroom to ignite our analytical skills with poetry from his new book aggressive. Students were inspired and some confessed to secretly writing poetry.
As the day progressed his performance grew to include another teacher's class. Energy and enthusiasm continued to grow with the students as his clever wit and spoken word delivery engaged us and provoked thoughtful questions and conversations.
His poem 13 words i grow weary of hearing was a powerfully moving participatory experience. I wasn't on my game and didn't take photos or groupies like I usually do, so instead - I have the cover of his new book which is available on Amazon.
Friday, April 28th
To close out National Poetry Month - Karen Greenbaum-Maya, author of The Book of Knots and Their Untying will share her poetry with my AP Students.
Submitting is a loaded word. When my friend said, "I want you to go to Women Who Submit," I thought it was a women's group for people who need to be more assertive. The double entendre of submission can be a dreadful thing, whether it is being submissive in a relationship or sending your work to an editor. There are so many variables, but being here I feel like I am on solid ground and the task does not feel daunting.
It almost feels like a tea party. We greet each other cordially and pull out laptops. The tea we sip is the information of possible publishers for our work, and the clicking of keyboards is the friendly chatter of encouragement. There it is. The lady across from me raises her hands and proudly says "I submitted." We applaud, and the facilitator is literally ringing the bell of success. The celebration is in the submission. We are doing that living in the moment thing rather than getting wound up in what someone else might think of us.
Being in the presence of other women who are submitting takes away the lonely ruminations of "what ifs" and "should I". There is no pressure, no competition, just encouragement from being around and seeing others do the same thing you want to do. Even though I didn't submit this time, I organized poems and felt like I accomplished something by just coming out and being a part of the process in the company of women writers. I am looking forward to submitting soon.
Thursday nights are lit in downtown Riverside.
Eclectic electricity is in the air with vendors, artists, dancers, musicians and poets. The creative spirit reigns mingling the inventive new with the tried and true.
When Cati Porter - Founder and Director of Inlandia, invited me to be a featured reader - there was a yes and yes that filled me ecstatic. National Poetry Month featured reader alongside Honduran social justice poet, videographer and CSUSB professor, Alex Avila, was a new adventure at the Riverside Public Library. I forgot how much I love the Mission Inn and the classic architecture of the area. There is a rootedness that is unique for the Inland Empire region, something that feels like ocean of centuries and the current wave of revolution.
Being in a library, family friendly was the tone for the evening. Alex had the audience engaged with folklore participation and poetry peppered with Spanish for flavor. I shared poems that celebrate my love of poetry and the innocence of children.
Thank you Cati Porter, founder of Inlandia, and host for the evening, for the opportunity to celebrate National Poetry Month in a delightful venue of culture, literature and kinship.