Remembering Maya Angelou

I wanted to write about Maya Angelou today before I read this beautiful post on my friend and colleague Aya de Leon’s blog. Aya says it much better and more intimately than I could, and I hope you’ll pop over there and read “Rest in Power, Maya Angelou.”

And I’ll post this Ben Harper song, “I’ll Rise,” from his album Welcome to the Cruel World. It uses Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” as inspiration for the lyrics, and it was going through my head all day yesterday.






National Poetry Month, Day 25: Langston Hughes

When Sue Wears Red

When Susanna Jones wears red
her face is like an ancient cameo
Turned brown by the ages.
Come with a blast of trumphets, Jesus!

When Susanna Jones wears red
A queen from some time-dead Egyptian night
Walks once again.
Blow trumphets, Jesus!

And the beauty of Susanna Jones in red
Burns in my heart a love-fire sharp like a pain.
Sweet silver trumphets, Jesus!

? Langston Hughes

National Poetry Month, Day 21: Crystal Williams


It’s true; I spent a lovely Easter collecting eggs, eating a decadent brunch, and generally goofing off, and I did not post a poem. Mea culpa. I hope you all had a nice Sunday as well.

Today’s poem is by Crystal Williams, a great poet who teaches at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where I used to live.

Here it is. Enjoy!

From Lunatic, ? Crystal Williams, Michigan State Press, 2002

From Lunatic, ? Crystal Williams, Michigan State Press, 2002

National Poetry Month, Day 9: Gwendolyn Brooks

I went looking for a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks, because I very much enjoyed her in college, and found this one, “A Light and Diplomatic Bird,” from 1949 in Poetry Magazine. Brooks was the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize, so it seemed like a good follow-up to yesterday’s poem by last year’s Pulitzer winner Sharon Olds.


You can read more about Gwendolyn Brooks here.