Monday, September 24, 2007

All Literary, All the Time

Answer: Dorothy Allison.

Yes, she's coming to SJSU on Wednesday October 3 in two events. Click here for more details.

And this means I get to hang out with her! Way cool, huh? She's one of my heroes. She writes the brutal and beautiful truths. She's an out, out lesbian with no apologies. She's a prostheletizer for writing and literature.

* * * * *

Wow, what a weekend. The California Poets Festival. Robert Hass blew my mind with an epic poem called "I Am Your Waiter Tonight And My Name Is Dimitri." It's about war, life, why people kill one another... It's -- well, a mind-blower. The poem that follows it in the amazing collection Time and Materials, an amazing collection is called "Bush's War." Nuff said.

He also read "The World as Will and Representation" (from the same collection) about his father forcing his mother to take Anatabuse. It builds to a stunning last line that left the room agape.

His wife, the poet Brenda Hillman, was there too. Unfortunately, she didn't read--but she was wearing her Code Pink shirt, and we talked about the need for civil disobedience in these times. She has inspired me to join in on the pink brigade.

I introduced Wanda Coleman by quoting this statement she made to an interviewer who asked how she self-identifies: "As a Usually Het Interracially Married Los Angeles-based African American Womonist Matrilinear Working Class Poor Pink/White Collar College Drop-out Baby Boomer Earth Mother and Closet Smoker Unmolested-by-her-father, I am unable to separate these and, as time progresses, resent having to fit into every niggling PC hole some retard trendoid academic with a grant or hidden agenda barfs up."

And she lived up to this intro with her energized, edgy, surprising performance.

Another highlight was Ken Huffman, Poetry Out Loud competition winner. He recited Ginsberg's "A Supermarket in California" in such a bittersweet way that I'll never experience that poem the same way again.

I was also grateful to expreience the poetry of Francisco Alarcon (who read most of his poems in Spanish and English), Ellen Bass (always a favorite), Victoria Chang, Jane Hirshfield and Diem Jones, accompanied by guitar.

California's got talent.


Collin Kelley said...

Sounds fab!!! I would love to hear Wanda read in person...never have. That quote of hers is so brilliant.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Thanks for this post, Kate.

Sharon Hurlbut said...

Wow. I'm so glad you're sharing theswe with us. Wish I could be there!

Talia Reed said...

I just recently discovered Brenda Hillman. I love her!