I know wonderful poets like Alice Notley and her talented sons, Anselm and Edmund and other denizens of the New York School and their offspring. I know composers, dancers, chefs. I know great people. And you know what, they know me–because I am working in the same vein of creativity, trying as best I can to add a distinctive voice to the discourse. There are times when I get heard and this year is one of those years. Included in the Poetry Suite for the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition of Jacob Lawrence’s Migrations Series; the publication of A Lucent Fire: New & Selected Poems; reading with Meera Nair at Salem College’s Center for Women Writers were all part of that inclusion. Earlier this year I read in a wonderful tribute to Wanda Coleman and also Muriel Rukeyser. These women poets along with Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Adrienne Rich created a powerful foundation for feminists writers and I knew them all. And now I am working to create work that builds on that work and the work of so many others. I am grateful to be a poet and a thinker even in these very challenging times.
So when I got word from the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund that I was a recipient of this year’s award in nonfiction, I was thrilled and humbled. I will continue to work on my memoir about being that Black girl in Bohemia who met all these great poets and composers and dancers and yes chefs. When you get any kind of affirmation it is really really really good news.