It's always an interesting time when poets get together to catch up on events that have flowed into and out of lives. Sometimes work, travel, projects loom so heavily in our minds that all we think about is the work--writing essays, books, editing, preparing for performances, videotaping, workshops--and hope that family and friends understand. Sadly, on occasion, life's shadows fall and we grieve while we clinch to work like a tired swimmer clinging to a buoy in chill-deep stormy sea. Other times, its those celebrations that go fleeting by without sharing in acknowledgement of benchmark, accolade, award, honor, accomplishment.. So when poets get together, well . . .
Back in the day at Claire's Claire de Lune Cafe, Olga Garcia and I met during the "Old Poetic Brew" open mic. Poets and musicians stood center stage before the microphone as Mark Kokinos hosted, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/poeticbrew/message/201 taking over MC duties from writer host Cheryl Latif who moved out of town. I always admired Olga's work. She writes in English and in Spanish. Her poems are mathematically symmetrical or filled with aleatory randomness, depending on her technique. On occasion, she brought Mexican poets who shared across La Frontera. Cheryl and Marc both encouraged international Spoken word sharing. The "Old Poetic Brew" had its flaws, but one of my good vibe-memories is that global poets got to speak truth as they saw it on Claire's Cafe's stage.
Kelli- Parrish (now Rev. Kelli Parrish-Lucas a minister and "topics in modern religion blogger" ) was our creative inspiration and founder. http://womenwhospeakinchurch.com/contribute/kelli-parrish-lucas/ Along with Kelli, Olga and I joined word streams with writing professor and poet Kathryn Rice-Simmons to form 4nth. A few years into 4nth's existence, Rice Simmons died. It was difficult to find a "replacement". Our purpose was to "be" four women poets. We chose Megan Webster http://meganwebster4.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/welcome-to-megan-websters-blog/ who graciously and patiently blended her style with ours as we continued shows at street fairs, award ceremonies, coffee shops, clubs, and festivals.4nth was one of a select few women poetry collectives in San Diego at that time and we showcased other women poets like La Linea of Mexico as part our ensemble's inclusiveness.
Our poetry collective disbanded a few years later. It has been several years since, but we keep in touch. Last week was a time to "catch up." Olga and I had a quick brunch at Cafe Chloe http://www.cafechloe.com/ --love their croissants-- and then walked along San Diego's Embarcadero to continue talking and sharing. We are both writing new poems. Olga however, continues to make appearances and to publish in journals http://contemporaryworldliterature.com/blog/poetry/poema-y-haiku/ .
She has also been busy editing for the San Diego Poetry annual which features submissions by some of our best local poets sandiegopoetryannual.com/our-regional-editors/ .
I am teaching again this fall, Afras 140, in addition to Afras 200 (Expository Writing and research techniques) at SDSU http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~afras/faculty.htm while working on a reader for African American Music History(for Linus Press). The CD, well it's still in process. Still, I can happily announce that my newest book of poetry is almost finished.
We laughed loudly. We were silent.We let the healing inner rain of sorrow flow. We smiled and with gratitude thanked God for allow us time. We spent several hours of just sharing. When poets get together . . .
Words unspoken and expressed.