Page 1


Gabrielle David Editor-in-Chief

India DuBois M. Malcolm King Managing Editors a publication of The Intercultural Alliance of Artists & Scholars, Inc. a New York not-for-profit organization

Features Vol. 1 || No. 1

Lorraine Miller Illustrations/Art Design

Angela Sternreich Book Reviews/Translations

Chimeara Communications, Inc. Publisher/Layout Design

l'écrivain Public Relations Public Relations/Marketing

Sp r i n g 1 9 9 7 Our special feature takes an intimate look at Patsy, Slave to George Sherman and its author, Lola Haskins.

Talking Circle: Writers Marci Rendon, Louis Reyes Rivera (pictured above), Opal Palmer Adisa and Luis Francia discuss how their ethnic heritage impacts their creative work.

17

In his essay, Get On The Bus, Gilgamesh & Me, Daniel Garrett explores relationships between men and how it is reflected in film and literature.

35

69

phati’tude Literary Magazine is published quarterly (Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall), ISSN: 1091-1480; ISBN: 1453719725 and EAN-13: 9781453719725. Copyright © 1997 and 2010 by The Intercultural Alliance of Artists & Scholars, Inc. (IAAS). All rights reserved. First publication under Chimeara Communications, Inc. 1997. Printed and bound in the U.S.A. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical without permission in writing from the Publisher. The views expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors of phati’tude Literary Magazine, the Board of Directors of the IAAS, donors or sponsors. Single issue: US$18; Annual subscriptions: US$65; Int’l-Canadian: US$75; Institutional US$110. We offer special discounts for classes and groups. The Publisher cannot guarantee delivery unless notification of change of address is received. Visit our website at www.phatitude.org. Manuscripts with SASE, letters to the editor and all other correspondence to phati’tude Literary Magazine, P.O. Box 4378, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163-4378; or email editor@phatitude.org.


Contents DEPARTMENTS

ARTICLES PROSE

POETRY

2

Editor’s Note .......................................................................................... 5 Reviewer's Corner ................................................................................. 6 poets with phati’tude .......................................................................... 12 Contributors’ Section ....................................................................... 105 Gabrielle David Multicuturalism – Beyond The Melting Pot ...................................... 14 M. Karima Grant Honey .................................................................................................... 73 Margo Norman Pullman Porter ...................................................................................101 Opal Palmer Adisa Gatherings ............................................................................................ 56 This Is Not Even My Life So Where Is It ........................................... 57 Linda Ashear Richard Avedon’s Napalm Victim ...................................................... 46 Chiang Mai Brothel .............................................................................. 46 Contradictions ..................................................................................... 47 Jennifer Nicole Bacon Strong and Sassy ................................................................................ 86 Laura Y. Bowman Heartbeat ............................................................................................. 32 Chris Brandt A Question For Intellectuals ............................................................... 97 Making It ............................................................................................... 97 Joseph Bruchac An Abenaki Drinking Song .................................................................. 65 Rozell Caldwell Ferris Wheel ......................................................................................... 67 Lucille Clifton telling our stories ................................................................................. 30 slaveships ............................................................................................. 30 memphis ............................................................................................... 31 Darius Cooper An Archive of Myself – Dichtimized Between Three Oppositions (an excerpt) ......................................... 93 Clinton Crawford Identity .................................................................................................. 95

phati’tude


Sally de Mattia Changing Stone ................................................................................... 85 Barbara J. Donahue-Walters Watching You Watching Me ................................................................ 61 India DuBois Sitting and Talking ............................................................................... 44 Maria Fama A Conversation With Mary Bucci Bush ............................................. 98 Luis H. Francia Catholics Anonymous .......................................................................... 78 Barbara Franklin The Color Of Me ................................................................................... 51 César A. González-T. Popule Meus: Improperia/Reproaches For CA Prop 187, 1994 ...................................................................... 80 Ray Gonzalez The Past ................................................................................................ 33 Praise The Tortilla, Praise Menudo, Praise Chorizo ......................... 34 Gábor G. Gyukics Other People’s Images ....................................................................... 92 William Hairston I Am ....................................................................................................... 94 Wasabi Kanastoga North Bergen St., N.J. ........................................................................ 84 M. Malcolm King Sweet Music ......................................................................................... 43 Nicholas Kolumban A Personal Message About –Isms ..................................................... 64 Mediation ............................................................................................. 64 Reginald Lockett A Ride Through Ghost Town ............................................................... 54 Benjamin V. Marshall Major Jones .......................................................................................... 89 Jesús Papoleto Meléndez eLOQUENT HYPOCRISY ....................................................................... 48 E. Ethelbert Miller Liberia Fever, 1877 ............................................................................. 60 Mountain Wife ..................................................................................... 60 John I. Olmo To Market ............................................................................................. 96 Leroy V. Quintana Primo Ricardo ...................................................................................... 62 On Seeing Casper Weinberger ........................................................... 62

We’re All In This Together n Vol. 1 || No. 1

3


Those People Who Drink A Lot Of Wine ............................................ 62 Marci R. Rendon what is an indian woman to do ......................................................... 41 my own grandmothers ........................................................................ 41 i am a dreamer .................................................................................... 42 Louis Reyes Rivera 168th street & marcy avenue ........................................................... 52 Charles Rossiter Moneta Sleet Reception, New York State Museum ....................... 82 Kent State Memorial Dedication ....................................................... 83 Alexia Rotella Tanka .................................................................................................... 91 Joyce Andrea Rothenberg What Is Going On? .............................................................................. 66 Bob Slaymaker New York, The Greatest City In The Best Of All Possible Worlds ......................................................... 59 Family Gathering ................................................................................. 59 Mary McLaughlin Slechta Crawl Space ......................................................................................... 55 Virgil Suarez Leo ........................................................................................................ 67 Eileen Tabios Nepal ..................................................................................................... 88 Tafa Moon Song ........................................................................................... 86 Lora R. Tucker Blackbird ............................................................................................... 63 Tanya Tyler Old Junkie Blues .................................................................................. 97 Gina Valdés English Con Salsa ................................................................................ 90 Lenore Baeli Wang The Lotus Leaver ................................................................................. 87 Laverne C. Williams Phat Tuesday ..................................................................................... 104 Jazz Dream ........................................................................................ 104 TRANSLATIONS

4

Janos Olah Without A Moral (trans. by N. Kolumban) ......................................... 85

phati’tude


Editor’s Note T

he editors are proud to present the premiere issue of phati’tude, a new quarterly literary publication designed to present a multicultural array of writers who explore and challenge stereotypes as well as share viewpoints about their culture through prose, poetry and articles. The term “multiculturalism” has rapidly escalated into a movement which is bringing about recognition of, sensitivity to, and appreciation for the diverse cultures that comprise American society. This, combined with the general public’s renewed interest in literature is the premise of phati’tude, a word which means “emphatic attitude.” phati’tude is a literary rainbow of various styles and techniques of both emerging and established writers of diverse origins. Their works exhibit social, political and cultural awareness and reflect personal experiences, ideas and thoughts. It is our editorial philosophy to encourage writings from this wide spectrum of people, including but not limited to African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, and Native Americans. Since “multiculturalism” spreads beyond the racial and ethnic sphere, we also reach out to the gay and lesbian community, as well as to senior citizens and the disabled. In our attempt to attract a broad cross-section of writers, flyers were sent to colleges, press releases were mailed to local newspapers, organizations and associations, and announcements were sent to individual writers throughout the country. The results have been astounding. We have received over one hundred submissions, and letters of congratulations and enthusiasm has been forthcoming. We wish to thank each and every writer for their submissions to our first issue, and, most especially, thank them for their confidence in an unseen journal from an unknown entity. Creating a new magazine is like giving birth to a baby . . . including labor pains and all. I would like to take this opportunity to thank India and Malcolm for their commitment for which I will be eternally grateful. I would also like to thank Mary Leheny for helping us in our editing crunch . . . she really came through and we appreciate her special efforts. Special thanks to Lorraine Miller, who gave us wonderful illustrations for the prose pieces in this issue. There are, of course, many other people to thank, and all I can say is thank you . . . your help is greatly appreciated and the fruits of your labor can be seen on every page of phati’tude. We have labored diligently to select works of significant artistic merit, crafted by writers in a broad range of styles, experiences and origin. We hope you will agree that the works selected demonstrate variety in both expressive form and subject matter, and that this, the premiere issue of phati’tude will whet your appetite for more. — Gabrielle David, Editor-in-Chief

We’re All In This Together n Vol. 1 || No. 1

5


R eviewer’s Corner Special thanks to Andrew P. Jackson, Executive Director of the Langston Hughes Library & Cultural Center; and Diane Vitale, Branch Library Manager, and Paolo Melillo, Assistant Branch Library Manager of the Corona Branch, both part of the Queens Borough Public Library in New York City, for reviewing and translating Spanish written books for phati’tude Literary Magazine. All books received and reviewed in phati’tude were donated to these two libraries.

INDIA DUBOIS the terrible stories by Lucille Clifton (BOA Editions Ltd., 1996) child, i tell you now it was not the animal blood i was hiding from, it was the poet in her, the poet and the terrible stories she could tell. (excerpt telling our stories by Lucille Clifton)

L

ucille Clifton is one of those writers I have always known. She came blazing through the late sixties and seventies along with her contemporaries Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Mari Evans and June Jordan. But somehow, she didn’t really get the play that her peers did. Not that she didn’t get recognized (she has numerous awards and is the only poet to have two books nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in one year), but she has not become a household word in the poetry realm. Maybe it is because she has also written several children’s books which many people are more familiar with. Lucille Clifton, however, is a poet who should not be missed. In her latest book, the terrible stories, from BOA Editions Ltd., Clifton indeed tells stories: of fear of triumph, of the spirit. Clifton has a sparseness with words that still hold a mystery of meaning. Her “fox” poems, which begin the book, are mysterious yet descriptively exact. These first poems are haunting and wondering. For example, in fox: “who/can blame her for hunkering/into the doorwells at night,/the only blaze in the dark/the brush of her hopeful tail/the only starlight/her little bared teeth?/ and when she is not satisfied/ who can blame her for refusing to leave,/for raising the one paw up and barking,/Master Of The Hunt, why am i/not feeding, not being fed?” The book’s second section “From The Cadaver” deals with Clifton’s fight with breast can-

6

cer – the cutting into the skin, what losing a breast means to a woman, the triumph, the sisterhood. I take this section in a very personal way, because I, too, have dealt with breast cancer. The fact that Lucille Clifton, a poet whom I have grown up with, speaks about her journey with this disease with such intimacy and strength connects to my very soul. I know what she is saying, and the message is real. From amazons: “when the rookery of women/warriors all/each cupping one hand around/her remaining breast/daughters of dahomey/their name fierce on the planet . . . . then when they each/with one nipple lifted/beckoned to me/five generations removed/. . . . there was nothing to say/my sisters swooped in a circle dance/audre was with them and i/had already written this poem.” I particularly appreciate the hope and spirit Clifton emanates in her poetry, despite the physical struggle. In her poem hag riding, she says: “why/is what I ask myself/maybe it is the afrikan in me/still trying to get home/after all these years/ but when I wake to the heat of morning/galloping down the highway of my life/something hopeful rises in me/rises and runs me out into the road/ and I lob my fierce thigh high/over the rump of the day and honey/I ride I ride.” There are so many good poems in this book that it is a temptation to quote them all, but then, of course, you would have the whole book in this review. But let me just point out some more of my favorites. Clifton sees things in unique perspectives, that are clear – once they are brought to our attention. The poem rust, for instance, talks about eternity and God: “are you saying that iron understands/time is another name for God?/that the rain-licked pot is holy?” One of Clifton’s strongest poems, which appears in the section of the book called “Term in Memphis” is slaveships. The visual and emotional images bring me to tears and also make me feel a sense of powerful and spiritual survival: “loaded

phati’tude


like spoons/into the belly of Jesus/where we lay for weeks for months/in the sweat and stink/of our own breathing/Jesus/why do you not protect us/chained to the heart of the Angel/where the prayers we never tell/and hot and red/as our bloody ankles/Jesus/Angel/can these be men/who vomit us out from ships called Jesus Angel Grace of God/onto a heathen country/Jesus/Angel/ever again/can this tongue speak/can these bones walk/Grace of God/can this sin live.” In the terrible stories, Clifton goes on to speak about family: a deceased husband, mother, grandmother, father, the spirits of ancestors floating in and out of her reality. Finally, she writes a section on the stories of King David. I am not particularly schooled in these stories, and this may be why I find these last poems the weakest in the book – they really do not reach into my soul the way the previous poems in the book do. However, the writing of the “King David” poems is superb, detailed and visually descriptive. Lucille Clifton is a poet who has always been exact, spiritual and to-the-point. Her new book is no different. She gets into your heart and soul. the terrible stories is an internal history that runs deep to our core. Read it with care.

Delving Into The Mexican-American Southwest With Ray Gonzalez and Leroy Quintana The Heat of Arrivals by Ray Gonzalez (BOA Editions Ltd., 1996) My Hair Turning Gray Among Strangers by Leroy V. Quintana (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 1996)

R

ay Gonzalez and Leroy Quintana both have new collections of poetry that deal specifically with the Southwest and the MexicanAmerican tradition, but the approaches the poets take are quite different. Ray Gonzalez, in The Heat of Arrivals, from BOA Editions Ltd., is internal, delving deep into his spirit, psyche and soul, and meshing these with very particular descriptions of creatures, heat and dry land of the Southwest. Gonzalez divides his book into four sections: “In the Time of the Scorpion,” “The Snake Poems,” “The Energy of Clay,” and “The Heat of Arrivals.” The first section is based on visual art which is tied to the person. Thus, in the opening poem Watching a Film About Van Gogh on Christmas Eve, he talks about “The madness of the ear listening to the silence of the sunflowers/makes us wait for Christmas to pass/so we

We’re All In This Together n Vol. 1 || No. 1

can return our gifts,/smear our hands and faces with paint,/go beyond the memory of the crude angel/wanting freedom impossible on canvas.” In Black Ink Drawings, he says, “I worked on them for two decades,/intricate drawings swallowing every second I breathed . . . .” Song for the Lizard Painted on the Plate, Indian Petroglyphs, Red Desert, Wyoming, The Mummy in the Witte Museum, Black Stone Sculpture, all transcend the viewing of the visual creations and turn them into living pieces of the author’s soul, a part of his personal landscape. Gonzalez becomes his physical surroundings, including the lizard, the snake, the salamander, the desert and the clay of the earth. In the section “The Snake Poems,” he sometimes turns into the reptiles. In Black Adobe, he says, “I go to the adobe house,/regress into the snake boy I’ve hated,/ forgiven his coiling across rooms,/shedding of his skin.” And in Snakeskin: “I thought the rattler was dead/and I stuck my finger in its mouth/felt the fangs bite down/penetrate me without letting go,/ . . . . I entered my bone and blood,/until my whole body was green and damp,/. . . . I peeled my skin back to find my veins were green . . . /crawled over the ground,/became sinew the sun steps on . . . .” As did Lucille Clifton, Gonzalez talks about family: grandmothers, grandfathers, mother and history. The final section deals primarily with Gonzalez’ father, and the pain of his father leaving the family when the author was a young boy. Memories and deep-seated pain from what the past pushed into the present are difficult for Gonzalez. He shares these internal scars with us, and also lays his questioning and wounds open to the reader. Consequently, the poetry in The Heat of Arrivals is difficult reading, requiring second and third readings to grasp the depth and intensity of the poems. The visual descriptions are electrifying and graphic and sear to the heart. Gonzalez, a native of El Paso, Texas, and currently Assistant Professor of English and Latin American Studies at the University of Illinois, has brought us the Southwest of his heart in all its starkness and underpinning of his people’s history blazoned on his being, the final survival and cry that has become a description of America without the glory. Leroy Quintana, whose book My Hair Turning Gray Among Strangers, published by Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, is a poet now living and teaching in California. Also Mexican-American, Quintana presents small vignettes of a Southwestern town, describing how as he comes home again and again on visits, perceptions change and other details from his childhood remain forever

7


the same. His is a book about coming home. In Poem Written on One of My Yearly Visits From California, he writes, “Strange how you look around one day/and you’re home again, for a while,/never more than a while, and you realize/ that somehow you made your way to the sea,/ and that you had to come to understand/how your life ran and the river runs.” Quintana writes straightforwardly, almost simply, making direct matter of fact statements and observations, but with a quirky insight and force. Returning speaks on small-town gossip: “It seems I have been gone from home/much longer than I thought./People there now/ have different versions of the very gossip/they were spreading eighteen years ago.” Quintana describes specific characters in his home town, giving tiny stories, often with a great deal of humor. Take, for instance Don Pedro: “Filemon says that though his vecino, don Pedro,/was a catolico, he seemed to know only two saints:/San/amagan y/ san/amabich.” Or this description of a horse in Goddammit: “Laco’s horse at one time had a name/I’m sure, but who remembers?/Everybody fondly agrees what its name should have been;/it got so used to being cussed at/it wouldn’t stop or go unless/or until he shouted Goddammit!” Quintana’s poetry is fresh, honest, clear and entertaining. His presentation of this town, his town, full of people, with good humor, insight and much caring, also has a down side for Quintana, who is always leaving his home. So, even though he is so close to these people, he is also, in some sense an outsider now. These two personal versions of the Southwest, Mexican-American physical and human landscapes, make these two books interesting reads side-by-side.

PAOLO MELILLO La Frontera de Cristal by Carlos Fuentes (Vintage Espanol (ALFAGUARA), 1995)

I

n La frontera de cristal (“The Glass Border”), Carlos Fuentes, widely regarded as Mexico’s foremost contemporary author, brings together nine related short stories that describe the life of diverse Mexicans in Mexico and the U.S. The interwoven short stories explore the historically uneasy relationship between the two nations and the “borders” which not only separate countries but also divide lives and form the edge between hopes and aspirations. In the short story which carries the same title as the book itself, we meet a Mexican laborer

8

brought to New York City to clean the windows of the city’s skyscrapers. As he looks into the offices, he imagines the lives of those who work behind the windows, lives which are beyond his dreams. He is awestruck by a woman working alone in an office. She sees him and, although initially annoyed by his presence on the other side of her window, she begins to see him as a man who represents the opposite of all she dislikes in her husband and her life. Although they realize they are very different, they continue to eye each other, wanting to meet, but both are separated by a glass border. Overall, the stories are well written, absorbing and connected not only by their “borders” theme but also, in different ways, to the head of the wealthy Barroso family.

DIANE VITALE El castillo de la memoria by Olga Nolla (Vintage Espanol (ALFAGUARA), 1996)

T

his imaginative novel, El castillo de la me moria (“The Memory Castle”) about adventurer Juan Ponce de Leon reworks a myth from the Age of Exploration. Through diary entries, Ponce de Leon describes his voyages and experiences in the New World, including his discovery of the legendary Fountain of Youth whose waters give him the gift and the curse of eternal Spring. He restlessly sails the Caribbean, his wonderment deteriorating into anguish as all he holds dear decays and withers around him. He finds resolution and peace only in death when he is killed in battle during the Spanish American War. An absorbing and thought-provoking book written by an up-and-coming Puerto Rican writer, the story is both well-crafted and an enjoyable read.

Ella cantaba boleros by G. Cabrera Infante (Vintage Espanol (ALFAGUARA), 1996)

C

onsidered one of Latin America’s most in novative and influential writers, Guillermo Cabrera Infante has lived in exile from Cuba since the mid-1960s. In exuberant street language that the author terms “Cuban” he evokes memories of a colorful and vibrant Cuba that is long gone. Ella Cantaba Boleros (“She Sang Boleros”) consists of two novella-length stories celebrating the raw vitality and gaudy brilliance of pre-Revolutionary Havana. The title story centers on a photographer and the enigmatic singer he meets in a local nightclub. The second story recounts a convoluted “crazy” love story. The prose is noteworthy

phati’tude


for its extensive use of nouns, parodies and other types of mocking wordplay that is very typical of the author’s style. The colloquial language and complex style require concentration, but the stories are flamboyantly compelling and well worth the effort.

ANDREW P. JACKSON (SEKOU MOLEFI BAAKO) Jazz and the Evening Sun by India DuBois with illustrations by Marian Howard (l’ecrivain publications, 1994)

I

ndia DuBois in her book of poetry, Jazz and the Evening Sun, weaves a poetic picture of life and love, living and relationships – not always pretty – but always real! I liked Sister, It’s Me! because it gave me the same inner feeling I got the first time I read Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise. I flinched when I read Because You’re Tired, Don’t Sit Down (for my firstborn daughter) because it reminded me of how much some things remain the same. Mama and Mother’s Lullaby are tributes I wish I had written, because I sure have thought them. And, Boys Will Be Men, reminds me of Langston, and you know that’s good! DuBois’ poetry has her own style of rhythm and its surely got soul. Life is reflected in the pictures she paints with her words. The images of childhood, the interplay between man and woman, and just plain living, in this world of uncertainty. She has given us her fluid prose warmed by the musical tones of jazz. She’s given poetry we can all relate to and snapshots of life from all of our photo albums. Match that with Marian Howard’s artwork and you are right on.

LEONARD CHANG Tree of Heaven by R.C. Binstock (Soho Press, 1996)

I

n his debut novel Tree of Heaven, R.C. Binstock offers us a love story between a Japanese Army Captain and a Chinese woman in Japan-invaded China in the late 1930s. The woman, Li, has been abandoned by her husband but has managed to avoid the common fates of many Chinese villagers in East-Central China: mass murders, rapes, and imprisonment. The Captain, Kuroda, a botanist who entered the army out of familial obligations and pressures, has been left in charge of the garrison in the Anhwei province where Li lives. Sickened by his Army’s senseless pillage and destruction of the Chinese,

We’re All In This Together n Vol. 1 || No. 1

Kuroda must reconcile his loyalty to Japan with the cruelty of his soldiers. It is not until he stops the rape of Li by four of his soldiers that he is forced to answer to his conscience and face the distrust and scorn of his ranks. Told in alternating monologues, the novel follows their relationship as Kuroda, fearing for Li’s safety, takes her in as his servant. Predictably, they fall in love. In spare, often deceptively simple prose, Binstock paints an intricate picture of these two characters and their predicament, where national and familial loyalties are constantly tested and examined, and where the tentative and awkward movements of forbidden love are explored. In choosing this literary technique of alternating first-person viewpoints, however, Binstock creates problems of voice. The two supposedly separate monologues are confusingly alike in both rhythm and style. Both characters engage in the same constant and sometimes irritating, selfquestioning and doubts. This fault is exacerbated by the often repeated reflective imperatives, such as Li’s musings, “Understand: I have seen my sisters raped . . .,” followed soon by Kuroda’s own thoughts: “Here, Major, understand: I really am a good officer,” or his “Revelation: there are things I don’t know . . .” The tone and tenor of these musings are too similar for clarity. Moreover, the relatively short chapters, offered in the alternating points of view, begin to create a metronomic, pendulum-like quality. The same events are repeated by the different narrators, with little extra insight revealed, slowing the pace of the story and lulling the reader into lethargy. The monotony may reflect on some level the stasis of military life when no actual fighting is involved, but even when a local bridge is blown up by the villagers, we feel a curiously detached sense of importance. We can understand the distress this creates in Kuroda as the officer in command, but by this time, the reader has reached a sense of numbness through the presentation. The result of the similar voices and tiring pace separates us from the narrative. Instead of inhabiting the characters, as the first-person traditionally allows us to do, we feel quite the opposite: removed, apathetic, disengaged. The characters of Li and Kuroda, by themselves, can be compelling and sometimes riveting, particularly when we see Li shunned by the suspicious villagers, or when Kuroda tries to exercise command although he clearly despises that role. But by the time the novel has ended, and the seemingly inevitable and tragic path of their affair has taken its course, we are curiously unaffected.

9


This bold first novel set in war-torn China is at times wonderfully subtle and sensitive to the nuances of a difficult love affair, but with the obstacles a reader faces when trying to become immersed into a completely unfamiliar time, place, and set of characters, not enough is offered to help the reader remain interested in the characters of their stories. In the first chapter, Kuroda rereads a letter he wrote to his wife, and finds it “oddly distant” as if there were a “veil” between them. Strangely, this symbolic veil seems to shield the characters, creating an unbreachable distance between them and the reader.

ANGELA STERNREICH Roots of Survival, Native American Story Telling and the Sacred by Joseph Bruchac (Fulcrum Publishing, 1996)

I

suppose it is customary or traditional for one writer to review or critique another writer’s work . . . especially if they share a common area of interest or expertise. Well, I’m not a writer in the traditional sense, but I am a reader and I know what I like. I like to read books about spirituality and history and I have read some books on Native American Indian shamanism and spiritual healing. However, Joseph Bruchac’s Roots of Survival, Native American Story Telling and the Sacred is the first I have read about storytelling. Storytelling is a way to entertain and to teach. It was the method by which news was passed on in many cultures long before the printing press, telegraph, telephone, fax machine, e-mail, Internet or the worldwide web. Wanderers (or storytellers) went from tribe to tribe, town to town, community to community – spreading the word, or whatever that particular word happened to be. In biblical times, it might have been the word of God. In feudal times, it might have been words of uprising against the lord of the manor. Storytellers usually travelled great distances by foot between communities and, when they reached the next community, were greeted warmly and treated with great respect, for they were the bearers of the news from beyond the edge of the community. They were fed and made comfortable. If they came on horseback, their horses were tended to while they were allowed to freshen up and eat before settling in to tell stories from the outside world. It was usually an honor to have the newstelling wan-

10

derer spend his time in your dwelling – be it hut, home or cave. Storytelling wanderers took great risk travelling through the countryside, braving the elements, but also never knowing what animals of the wild or sick, hungry, desperate men would be lurking in the shadows. Modes of hunting and gathering, new inventions, style of dress and stories of the deities were all passed on amongst the different tribes and communities through stories and song. This practice went on for centuries in all corners of the world, in all civilizations and in all cultures. Like many other homespun traditions that have been trampled down by progress, the great tradition of storytelling has all but disappeared in the modern world. Joseph Bruchac and his book help to keep this tradition alive. Bruchac seeks not only to preserve this aspect of Native American culture using storytelling to entertain and to teach, but, as a medium to heal the listener. In his own words, “We human beings are not just body and mind. We are spirit and emotion. There are few things which speak clearly as stories speak to the needed balance between all four of those components which make up human life. Stories have great power.” As he also points out, stories have the potential to do great harm if told with hate and malice. This is how power shifts hands, through stories used as propaganda, stories filled with prejudice, meant to malign a certain group or community. In his book, Bruchac, who is an Abenaki Indian, tells stories of an Indian Nation made up of many different Native nations – among them Abenaki, Cherokee, Iroqois, Sioux, Navajo, etc. The stories he shares with his readers tells us “how it was done.” He teaches us the “how-to.” How to retell the story. How to find the lesson in the story. How to keep the lesson in your heart and live it. How to apply it to your daily life. He shares how he did it and how he does it. I am expecting my first child and I intend to pass these traditions onto my son. Hopefully, through my teachings and my storytelling he will learn the great messages that have been passed on through the ages. Respect nature, do not abuse it. Respect your elders, do not neglect them. Respect authority, but never fear to ask questions. Look inside Roots of Survival. Look inside these stories. Look for the treasures of the lessons.

phati’tude


GABRIELLE DAVID The Rowers, The Swimmers and The Drowned, by Linda Ashear (Morris Publishing; 74 pages)

W

hen I first read Linda Ashear’s collection,The Rowers, The Swimmers and The Drowned, I was immediately drawn to her poetry – it was like listening to an old friend. Ashear presents her personal experiences and historical observations, intertwined with aspects of the four seasons throughout most of the book. Her style is best described as “guilelessly poetic.” The title of the collection is used to name the three sections of the book. “The Rowers” section of the book represents the “movers and the shakers,” the people who “row” across the lake of life, so to speak. It is here that one finds the strongest ties to the four seasons. Unlike the other sections of the book, Ashear’s travels are limited to the Eastern seaboard. Fall Comes To Easter Hill demonstrates Ashear’s imagery. At first glance, you may think this poem doesn’t belong in this section, but don’t let the imagery fool you. The phrase “patiently endures” reminds us that a “rower” is one who endures. In She’s No Lady, Ashear revisits her younger self in Brooklyn as the muse who “refuses to yield” to anyone . . . another rower. In 1600 Pennsylvania Ashear questions the validity of “the rowers” who resided at the White House. And despite the fact I do not particularly care for repetitive poems, the editors and I agreed that Ashear’s poem Contradictions employs a powerful message, so much so that we published it in this issue. Interestingly, at the end of this section Ashear writes Obituary – her own – showing that even rowers have dreams that fall by the wayside. In “The Swimmers” section, Ashear still depends on history and the seasons, but her voice begins to take an edge. Swimmers have to work a little harder to keep up, and Ashear’s tone becomes more clipped and precise. Here, Ashear travels to England, France, the Upper East Side in New York City, and California – her poetry fraught with ironies. Looking For Yellow On The Upper Eastside is Ashear’s search for a yellow cab which ultimately leads her to Barnes & Nobles and its yellow books. In particular, her poem, In 1941, ends with an ironic twist of her inception. My favorite section, appropriately entitled “The Drowned,” does not mince words. It is a tribute to the drowned – those who didn’t make

We’re All In This Together n Vol. 1 || No. 1

it but who have not been forgotten. Ashear’s poetic structure gives way to a shading signficiantly different than her two previous sections. Her words in Auschwitz are as bare and as chilling as the place itself. For A Park Ranger is a tribute to a friend who succombs to diabetes “piece by piece, a toe, another, a foot.” In Titanic, Ashear reminds us of those who literally drowned, but whose memory lingers in history. The editors and I especially found Ashear’s Richard Avedon’s Napalm Victim and Chiang Mai Brothel imagery so compelling, that these poems are also featured in this issue. The Rowers, The Swimmers and The Drowned is a refreshing collection of poetry. Linda Ashear does not overtax an idea, rather, she uses words to color or shade a feeling, a period of time, which any reader can grasp, understand, and appreciate.

The New Jersey Poetry Resource Book by Laura Boss and Maria Mazziotti Gillan (PCCC, 1996; 62 pages; $5.00)

P

ublished by The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College, The New Jersey Poetry Resource Book offers a thorough listing of poetry resources in New Jersey, including major organizations, poetry groups, poetry centers, reading series, writers’ conferences, festivals, literary publications and small presses. A great guide to New Jersey’s poetry community, it’s useful for both residents and non-residents alike. Not only do you have handy information at your fingertips, your $5 helps support The Poetry Center, an integral part of the poetry community in New Jersey. Write your check or money order to “The Poetry Center” and send it to Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Passaic County Community College, One College Boulevard, Passaic, New Jersey 07509-1179.

phati’tude Literary Magazine is published quarterly by The Intercultural Alliance of Artists & Scholars, Inc. (IAAS), Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Individual subscriptions are $65 per year. Please write a check or money order to phati’tude Literary Magazine and send it to: Subscriptions phati’tude Literary Magazine P.O. Box 4378, Grand Central Station New York, NY 10163-4378

11


T

A Commentary by Gabrielle David

he Pilgrims were America’s first immigrants. Their claim of equality and justice on the shores of the New World became the catalyst for hundreds of racial, religious and national groups to follow. Often proclaiming itself “a nation of immigrants,” the United States prides itself on being a veritable “melting pot” where the cultural attributes of many nations are fused into a distinctly “American” culture. Coined by the playwright Israel Zangwill in 1909, the term “melting pot” originally embodied his idea that the varied cultures of immigrants arriving in the United States would mix with one another to create a new “American” population. But by World War I, Zangwill’s original vision had been drastically narrowed to the belief that to be 100-percent American one had to “assimilate.” The most flagrant example of assimilation begins with the painful treatment of Native Americans. From the moment the


first colonists confronted members of the Powhatan Confederacy in the 17th century, Native Americans, one might say the “true Americans,” lost their land and water, were murdered and destroyed by war and disease. Assimilationists worked diligently to absorb Native Americans into the mainstream of the dominant society by eliminating tribal codes and values through Anglo-American legal values and federal laws. Forced to confinement on reservations, for many years, Native Americans were conveniently out of sight and out of mind. Hundreds of years later, and having paid a heavy price, Native Americans have survived genocide and have resisted the destruction of their culture. As the 20th century dawned, the United States was swept up with the ideology of “assimilation” – preserving the dominance of White AngloSaxon Protestant values. Assimilation became a rigid set of religious, cultural and political values based on a strict European model. In order to achieve a measure of success and happiness in America, one had to surrender one’s identity and renounce cultural values and traditions in order to assimilate. Obviously, for people of color, complete assimilation was never an option. The ideology of assimilation grew as African Americans from the U.S. South and immigrants from southeastern Europe flooded into the major cities during the early 1900s. American acquisition of a territorial empire in the Caribbean and the Pacific (i.e., Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Philippines) after 1898 brought millions more brown people under United States sovereignty. Jim Crow laws were established throughout the South and racial stereotypes became popular nationwide. Prominent scholars like Herbert Baxter Adams and Robert Knox argued that different groups of people had fixed characteristics beyond change – that Anglo-Saxon, Nordic, and Germanic people were suited for free enterprise, capitalism, technological development, and political liberty, while people of color – the “natives” –were forever limited by their genetic heritage to lives of subsistence poverty and political and economic subservience. Despite the problems that first generation European immigrants faced, they were more easily able to assimilate than ethnic minorities of color because they were physically similar to the first settlers. These ethnic minorities were not afforded the same opportunities as their white Anglo brethren and assimilated counterparts, and they were sealed off from the larger society. The Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 spawned the civil rights movement of the 1960s in which African Americans challenged these social and legal injustices.

We’re All In This Together n Vol. 1 || No. 1

Bolstered by the demands and proposals of Native Americans, Hispanic/Latinos and Asians, the counterculture/social protest movement forced a shift from the prevailing assimilative standard to one of integration. Out of this spawned an ethnic heritage revival which attempted to recover and restore ethnic minorities’ preclusion from American history. As a result of these movements, many Americans began to wear two masks: “ethnic” in private, “American” in public. While this dualism existed, the central values continued to be defined monoculturally. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, scholars began to question and/or refute the ideology of the “melting pot.” Focusing instead on the enduring impact of ethnicity, they suggested instead that U.S. society should be perceived as a plurality of ethnic groups with competing interests. The rejection of the melting pot theory gave way to the emergence of an equality of difference rather than of opportunities, and the term “multiculturalism” was born. The term multiculturalism, as it is used today, represents a rapidly escalating movement which aspires to bring recognition of, sensitivity to and appreciation for the diverse cultures that comprise our American society. It has produced an educational and social reform movement which seeks redress from the centuries-long practice of exclusion. There is no denying that the multicultural initiative arose, in part, because of a fragmentation of American society by ethnicity, class and gender. v

v

v

T

imes are changing. Today’s immigrants appreciate the political and cultural freedoms America has to offer, yet they are keen on maintaining their ethnic heritage – reluctant to surrender it for the sake of American assimilation. Instead of being forced into one standard custom, idea and tradition, cultural pluralism has become a more realistic approach to ethnic diversity. The search for community in society – for equality, security, and stable neighborhoods – continues. And, more than 400 years after the first English colonists settled in the New World, ethnicity still remains the dominant force in American social life. Why has multiculturalism become such a hot debate? The neoconservatives argue that multiculturalism threatens to fragment American culture into a warren of ethnic enclaves, each separate and inviolate and that the very concept of multiculturalism is yet another desperate attempt by minorities to shield their “inabil ity” to blend into the mainstream. According to the neoconservatives,

15


multiculturalism menaces the Western tradition of literature and the arts, politicizes school curriculums and threatens to destroy honest historical scholarship with a “feel-good syllabus” designed solely to bolster the self-esteem of minorities. After all, they contend, multiculturalism is just a party name for ethnic chauvinism. However, the neoconservatives fail to address two major points. First, and perhaps the very core of multiculturalism, is that many of us have dual heritages. It is the best of both worlds – the American ethnic of individual freedom and the spiritual connection of ethnic backgrounds. Trying to fit into the melting pot can cause us to wear a mask that hides our true self. When we hide our true selves, we become stifled, oppressed, and stressridden. We don’t have to choose between our ethnic ancestry and our American heritage. We can speak Chinese and English. We can eat beans and rice and hamburgers and hot dogs. We can wear kente cloth and business suits. And we are allowed to love or cherish a part of our culture and share it with a person of a different cultural background. Second, and perhaps the most important aspect of this equation, is the fact that being “white” is as ethnic as being African American or Asian. The masses of European immigrants over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries paid the price for linguistic extinction and cultural loss for the privilege of assimilating into the melting pot. Thus, the unease and antagonism that many white Americans may share against those who celebrate their ethnicity suggests an irreparable envy and inner turmoil, because their ancestors were forced to surrender their ethnicity. Without specifically addressing white ethnicity there can be no crucial evaluation of the construction of the “other.” White Americans need to reexamine their own histories, and by doing so, will perhaps become more tolerant of other ethnic groups. Being “white” in America represents an invisible norm for how the dominant culture measures its own worth and civility. This invisible norm needs to be reevaluated before multiculturalism can finally take root. v

T

v

v

he challenge facing America in the next century will be the shaping of a truly com-mon public culture beyond the melting pot. Our society will not survive without the values of tolerance, and cultural tolerance comes to nothing without cultural understanding. If we relinquish the challenge, we abandon the very experiment that America represents.

16

Multiculturalism does not promise to redistribute power or resources, nor are people of color necessarily empowered by multiculturalism. The ideology of multi-culturalism is not an excuse to assault European classics and western civilization as an area of study. Rather, it values and acknowledges the contribution that all cultures have made to America’s melting pot. Multiculturalism demands that social and educational opportunities should be available to all people, so that all people are capable of competing equally in America’s capitalistic market. Multiculturalism means seeing world history and contemporary social life from the perspective of the radical equality of peoples in status, intelligence, and rights and that existing cultural, social and economic constraints can and should be modified in order for true equality to become realized. Multiculturalism is not an unnecessary evil – its “demands” are already provided for in the Constitution. Justice does not exist because laws exist, it merely serves as a guidepost. Justice needs to be continually created and struggled for, taught, enacted and constantly challenged as it applies to a “multicultural” society. Naturally, there are those who believe that the term multiculturalism is nothing more than a passing fad that serves to obscure the fact that nothing has changed for the diverse populations in question. For these and other reasons, we should continue to openly converse and find ways of publicly manifesting the significance of cultural diversity, of integrating the contributions of all people into the fabric of our society. We need to build a politic of alliance building beyond an “awareness week.” While it is easy to blame the politicians, media, book writers, social and educational experts, we, as a people, are ultimately responsible for a struggle that develops out of a true belief of freedom, liberation, democracy and critical citizenship. It begins with having a firm understanding of one’s own heritage. It begins with having the capacity to acknowledge your fellow citizen’s cultural heritage. Because of multiculturalism and the debate that it has brought, literature seemingly has lost some of its exclusive, elitist aura. phati’tude takes advantage of this ethnic heritage revival by publishing a representative array of writers whose works express both the unique and diverse characteristics of the contemporary American experience. Most importantly, phati’tude will continually explore the struggle of persisting racism as well as the development of multiculturalism, beyond the melting pot.

phati’tude


A “talking circle” is a Native American custom in which a group of people share their experiences, strengths, and hope. The poets in this circle – Native American, Latino, Afro-Caribbean and Filipino – explore some of the values and principles they have learned from society as well as open a window into their own unique attitudes and opinions. As people of color, these poets show pride in their ethnic heritage assertively and honestly as they give insight behind the innerworkings of their prose and poetry. It is important to note that each contributes a unique melody and our song would be incomplete without their harmony. We welcome them into the talking circle. We hope you will too. by Gabrielle David, M. Malcolm King and India DuBois


learned to read and write when I was like four or five years old, and by third grade I found myself sitting in the back of the classroom writing little books,” says Marci Rendon, White Earth Anishinabe, poet, playwright, editor, teacher and writing mentor. ”I had this little series going, about cowboys and Indians. Naturally,” pauses Rendon, “the Indians were the winners!” Marci Rendon holds a B.A. in Criminal Justice and a B.A. in American Indian Studies from Moorhead State University, and she recently completed her M.A. in Human Development. She is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the Jerome Fellowship and the Intermedia Arts Emerging Artists Installation Grant.

“I

(con’t p. 22)

photo: Vance G. Vannote

18

phati’tude


I

am of A fricanCaribbean descent and P uerto Rican,” Africanfrican-Caribbean Puerto says Louis Reyes Rivera. “I am very uncomfortable with terms like “Hispanic” and “Latino” because they are Anglo definitions that are not only historically inaccurate, but also tend to downplay the existence of an African and Amerindian connection. I am of both African and Amerindian descent in addition to any European background that I may have in my family tree.” Louis Reyes Rivera is an internationally recognized poet and a professor of PanAfrican, African-American, Puerto Rican, Nuyorican and Caribbean literature and history. He has taught at Hunter College, College of New Rochelle, State University of New York

(con’t p. 23)

We’re All In This Together n Vol. 1 || No. 1

19


T

ECHNICALL Y I AM NOT AFRICAN AMERICAN . . . I was ECHNICALLY

born and raised in Jamaica and my roots are Jamaican,” says Opal Palmer Adisa. “But because I am

black and live in this country, I have been lumped under the African American umbrella and I identify as African American. I know some Caribbean people have a problem with this, but I feel a tremendous

affinity with the African American community. So when people ask, I usually say I am African American, Jamaican born, because I want that heritage to be known.“ Opal Palmer Adisa is a literary critic, writer and storyteller. She has published numerous essays, articles and reviews, and her prose and poetry have been published in numerous journals in the United States, England, Canada and Jamaica. Adisa came to the U.S. when she was sixteen years old. After receiving her B.A. in Communications from (con’t p. 25)

20

photo: David Major

phati’tude


I

DON’T REGRET THAT MY LITERARY DIET consisted of the ‘canons.’” says Manila-born Luis H. Francia. “What I do regret is that my early schooling followed the colonial Western formula to the detriment of home grown literature that I was forced to discover on my own.” Luis H. Francia is a writer, teacher, critic and poet who has published two books of poetry and edited two anthologies of Filipino literature. Educated in the Philippines, he currently writes for The Village Voice, A. Magazine and Asiaweek and teaches Asian American Literature at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. He is one of the editors of the recently published anthology Flippin’: Filipinos on American, with Eric Gamalinda, published by the Asian America Writers’ Workshop in New York City.

(con’t p. 26)

We’re All In This Together n Vol. 1 || No. 1

21


Patsy (Slave to George Sherman (1816-1856)) by Lola Haskins

Patsy is Born Mama said it was thundering when I was born and can I see it, the rain beating its wings against the door, the cold bird laughing up in the clouds, all the blood, brightest color in the room when I came out. And she said there was a caul over my face, so she couldn’t tell at first if I was black, or white like him. The caul’s why only Chloe plays with me, the others call me white girl or little princess veil, but Chloe stays close. Together we two build our graves, dreaming great mounds of sand to bury us, and every night we die, and every morning rise to life again

Patsy Sees a Ghost I’m crossing the river where it narrows, carefully, it being Sunday and I’m past the root end of the log when I look up, and there’s a haunt sitting on the blossom end. I can see trumpet vine and blackberries through her white dress. Gnats hang in the air. The river runs on, red-brown and deep. The haunt sings and it’s my music, the blood song of my Sunday skin, the rattle-tune of my heart and bones and my skull dancing in the road. And Chloe, she knows my name. She says Oh Patsy, take care, or you will surely fall

We’re All In This Together n Vol. 1 || No. 1

35


and the thick river will pull you too to shroudy weeds and you’ll be gone, gone as the moment you looked up and saw the trumpet vine and berries, hot and ready through my white dress, gone as all the years since I died, and waited here for you.

Patsy Speaks of the Master The sun rises to the driver’s horn as surely as a woman sets her mending down to follow the man she hates to his urgent cot across the room. What starts goes on. Noon sun blinds those who look, turns pupils white as mistress’ sheets stretched across the fine high bed where she lies. It’s my skin her husband tongues, my black legs he spreads though I tell him no. My children will murder hers. The helpless sun rises, and burns.

Patsy Jumps Over the Broom i Esau says his master will ask mine for me, but I don’t want him. When he came after me that day with his old man’s tongue flapping, closer, til his turnip breath was hot against my cheek. I spat my answer on the stove. ii Master has put me in his pocket. Sold, my heart rattles in my throat like desperate coins. iii Chloe’s hands flurry through my hair, quick brown birds through leaves, flying out oiled

36

with my scent and the wedding small she adds from a milk-white jar. Her chatter is as far away as birds in dreams like little ticking clocks whose time is happening to someone else. I buy my master for fifty dollars. He is begging me, take my wife too, my son, my daughter’s young and strong. I pay him no attention. iv Esau and I stand together facing the broom. It is all I see though the room’s bright with women’s dresses. Its straws that once had roots are choked by dust and broken insects, teased from corners. Its handle, cut from some tree’s heart, is mute and dirty. I can change nothing, must cross this border. On the other side, Esau will have won what I wanted not to give. Already I hear the windy crack of his branched whip, opening channels in my skin. But I’ll win too for I will not cry. What he will do is not to me. His hand’s a sucking fish on mine. Our four feet jump over the broom.

Supper When I told him that was all the meat, he said it was like my cheating self to use up what belonged to him, then lie. I was lower than a black widow spider with an hourglass on her belly, I was worse than white. His slurred hand slung the kettle. The boiling soup blanched my arms and face.

phati’tude


I took up the knife, but he caught my wrist as if it were a rabbit in one of his traps, shook it, broke its neck. At my feet hot flies were buzzing around the scattered bits of pig, the splashed greens.

Esau He is beginning to complain of pains like sharp lights across the window that go and come. When the stuck doll rots in its grave under the dogwood, he will die. It is a cheerful thing to kill weeds, to slice their necks and hoe them down. At noon I nurse the baby, knowing he will be the last of Esau’s blood. His little mouth sucks greedily at my thin blue milk. I tell him soon, child, soon.

Cleaning Cotton, At Night Yesterday a black cat ran across my feet and turned to white before he reached the wall. Tonight the smooth cotton bolls prick and scratch in the almost dark. The bowl of seeds spills to the hot dirt. Are there bayous where they sold you, Mama? Has your new hair turned gold? Do you eat white flour bread every day? When will you send for me? No. Enough lies. What do you think of your precious master now, who could not stand the sight of you so sold you south for a mule and a boy? And what would you think of me, Mama, growing into you, each day stranger than the last. I am learning to sing out of my hand, and the songs are terrible: black girls in white with blood on their foreheads, forced marriages to the cold worm.

We’re All In This Together n Vol. 1 || No. 1

And I know things: that the morning glories will not close tonight. That somewhere in Louisiana you will die with a nail in your foot, and your jaw locked shut.

Breaking Master’s Leg I broke master’s leg with my song. Because of me, he fell from his big, red horse. Because I sang him down, sang the bone through his skin. When they found him, he was trying to put it back but the bald bone, being free, held on. I was the crow who flew just then into the certain clouds. It was my tune the bone-egg sang in its white sharp voice, humming through the fingers of master’s useless hands.

Patsy is Over Now that I have withered to a quarter hand they have sent me to the women’s house. Here I rock the unsold babies, croon to the little ones that run across the dirt floor, quick and blind as crabs. At noon the mothers come. Their heavy sweat fills the room as they ease their nipples into parting mouths. Their children suck the sweet fooling milk. Later, their smooth mothers gone, they will remember who it is loves them most, whose words they hear from their darkest sleeps moaning to them, time on time, how it will be, the day they rise in white to see their multitudes, shining in the grass.

37


W

hen reviewing submissions for phati’tude, we discovered Patsy. We were so impressed with the historical narrative, we wondered if Patsy was a biographical work. We contacted the author, Lola Haskins, and

L o l a Haskins oice The V Voice Behind Patsy by Gabrielle David

expressed our desire to not only feature Patsy but to interview the author as well. Haskins was delighted that we wanted to feature her and Patsy. She warned us though, we might very well change our minds because the voice behind Patsy is “white.” This twist, we thought, made Patsy and an interview with its author even more interesting. photo: Mark Dolan

38

P

atsy was written in the late seventies and was first published in 1983 as part of a collection entitled Castings. The collection as a whole is an exploration of some of the voices Haskins finds among the women in herself. One of the first questions we asked Haskins is how she identifies herself in terms of her ethnic heritage and cultural background. Surprisingly, Haskins initially describes herself as a “perpetual outsider.” “I identify myself as an independent spirit because nothing have I done the usual way,” reveals Haskins. “I teach computer science but I have never had a class in computer science in my life. I am a poet but I have never been to school and studied poetry, and poetry is my passion. And maybe because I’m a perpetual outsider, I don’t know, but for whatever reason I can identify with people who feel isolated and/or oppressed . . . and that’s been one thing which drives my work.” With further prodding, Haskins admitted that her mother’s grandmother was born and raised in Mexico. After everyone in her family had been murdered, her great-grandmother eventually fled Mexico. “She climbed out the window and walked on foot across the desert into Arizona, with her daughter in her arms, and eventually married an English rancher,” explains Haskins. “My father’s grandfather was born in Germany, and there were people born in Sweden in that same generation.” By Haskins’ generation, there was such a cultural mix as a result of the many inter-ethnic marriages, that no one can really pinpoint an exact family identity. Yet, when pressed for a clarification, Haskins concedes that she would choose Hispanic, because she strongly identifies with that heritage. Haskins grew up in the suburbs of Northern California, which she found physically isolating and stifling. This, in part, perpetuated her love for reading and, eventually, writing. When asked about her influences, Haskins says “Everything you read influences you, and there are so many things, from so many different angles, that have made me feel passionate that I can’t narrow it down. If people ask me what poets I like, I would have to say what poems I like. For example, there are certain poems which I think are landmarks in the history of poetry. One of them is Those Winter Sundays, by Robert Hayden, which I have on my office door. I collect poems, I don’t necessarily have a favorite poet.” Haskins was delighted when we told her that the details and setting of Patsy are so realistic that the editors wondered if Patsy was a real per-

phati’tude


son based on historical records. “I made her up,” confessed Haskins, “but she is real because I did lots of reading and research for her, and in that regard, she is historically real. I worked very hard at separating fact from fiction. I looked at narratives written by runaway slaves (I later found out that while many were genuine, some were

“If people ask me what poets I like, I would have to say what poems I like.” known to be fakes), and I also read W.P.A. interviews with people who remembered the old days. And I talked to historian friends too, because I wanted to be sure I wasn’t lying. So, in answer to your question, Patsy is absolutely real. But, you know, I had that obligation to her. Any writer who’s writing something historically set owes that, or at least I think they do, to be as full of facts as possible. It’s really important to know what your character ate for breakfast and what clothes he or she put on in the morning. Think about it, how can you be this character if you don’t know what you ate for breakfast?” When asked about the “political correctness” of a “white” woman writing in the voice of a “black” woman, Haskins paused for a moment, and answered carefully: “Political correctness is not a great thing, in my opinion, because it cuts both ways. I believe in the freedom to explore, and I think to deny that because you are the ‘wrong’ color or the ‘wrong’ ethnic group is not right. There are, of course, people who write about other peoples and cultures purely for exploitation, but then, there are people who hide behind their own race and exploit it. Personally, I think that there is too much self-absorption in the poetry world and I think that sometimes you find more of yourself when you put yourself in somebody else’s shoes.” “But,” continues Haskins, “by saying this, in no way do I mean to put down people who write strictly from their own backgrounds. That’s, I think, a legitimate approach. It just isn’t the only one and it doesn’t always work for me. What I do think though, is that labels should not be put on people or things, and if I were black, I would resent being labelled even more strongly. Excluding other people and other groups from a shared viewpoint because they aren’t the people they are writing about is absolutely wrong and I think has the potential to

We’re All In This Together n Vol. 1 || No. 1

polarize the country if people take that too far. For the poets and writers who are really good, whose work is going to be around for eternity, their identity doesn’t and shouldn’t matter. For instance, take Rita Dove – she is a wonderful writer, and whatever she writes has nothing to do with her being black other than that’s what she writes about because that is what she knows. There are so many really, really wonderful writers who happen to be black and it’s a shame that they are identified as black writers instead of great writers. I hope people read Patsy and enjoy the character’s historical honesty despite the fact that I happen to be white.” One of the things that led Haskins to writing Patsy is her strong connection with people who live under duress, particularly blacks, Hispanics and women. “I think that the forms that duress takes may vary, but it’s still duress. A lot of my work is driven by this, by the fact that something is lacking in life or something is working against an individual, and sometimes, paradoxically, the pressure can give that person more strength than he/she’d otherwise have been able to access.” When asked if she considered herself “oppressed,” Haskins responds, “I do not think that society is oppressing me as much, as I am probably oppressing myself. I think that’s true for most people. I definitely wouldn’t accuse someone of trying to keep me down, on the other hand, there is a larger society out there that has absolutely no interest in me, poetry, or in anything that comes from the soul, because everything seems to be driven by economics. I find myself fighting that sort of oppression all the time, by exploring new topics and trying to be honest in what I do.”

“. . . labels should not be put on people or things, and if I were black, I would resent it even more strongly.” “Here’s the thing,” says Haskins, “I think when you look at the era of slavery, you think of these people as oppressed human beings, and they were, but you also have to recognize how beautifully powerful they were. What I discovered about this period is that it isn’t a matter of helplessness, it’s a matter of personal empowerment. Some of these people had such incredible inner strength that they could make things happen and it had nothing to do with slavery. When you look at these wonderful people and what they did un-

39


der these circumstances, you see what can happen out of oppression. In researching and developing Patsy, the character’s strength struck me right from the beginning because as a child, she was isolated even from her own people, yet when she grew up she became a very powerful person within her own group.” Haskins has not received any negative feedback from the black community about the fact that she is a “white” woman writing about a “black” experience, perhaps because of Patsy’s limited circulation. Other Haskins narratives have received some backlash and interestingly, in one case it was a white person who resented her retelling the Japanese folk tale, “Momotoro.” The irony of that situation was that the man’s Japanese wife thought it was fine, and furthermore she liked Haskins’ poem. “I really think that a writer does have the right to express another point of view so long as the writer’s words comes from the heart. When I write about other cultures, I want people to know that this is their story, and in no way did I mean to take it over or distort it. I just thought it was beautiful and I wanted to tell it.” For this and other reasons, Haskins considers herself outside of the “poetic mainstream.” “I have always been doing exactly what wasn’t fashionable at the time. It’s kind of funny, because I was writing narratives like Patsy, back in the late 1960s, early 1970s, when nobody was writing narratives. Now that everyone is writing narratives, I no longer write narratives. It’s not on purpose, it’s just that I am never quite with the current trend.” When asked if she had any future plans for black characters, Haskins responds, “To be honest, I never know what I am going to do. My book that’s coming out, Extranjera (Story Line Press, 1997), is set in Mexico and it’s up front about my being an outsider. However, it also has to do with fear of people who are different from you, and my idea in this is that one reason people are uncomfortable around ethnically different people is that these different people represent something the onlookers don’t want to acknowledge in themselves, a freedom maybe, or a part of being human that the watchers have lost. The book starts from the outside, then moves into Mexican voices and in the end the writer/persona finds among them what she’s been denying in herself, and so she reemerges. She has to. In other words, though I am always looking at things from other peoples’ standpoint, I eventually find myself. As a matter of fact, I find myself everywhere.”

40

phati’tude


Get On The Bus, Gilgamesh & Me by Daniel Garrett

photo: Lester Sloan


T

here are words that have almost a sacred quality in my mind and life: knowledge, discourse, social responsibility and friendship. For me, the word that I have pronounced with the most hope, the most passion, is friendship. As I’ve grown older I’ve learned that even close friendships are subject to the demands and ravages of time, thought, social values, etc., and it is this “etcetera” that often drives us most deeply. These are some of the memories and ideas that have occurred to me as a result of seeing director Spike Lee’s film Get On The Bus, written by Reggie Blythewood and financed by a group of fifteen black men. Get On The Bus is a film about a varied group of black men – strangers – who take a bus to Washington, D.C. for the 1995 “Million Man March,” a march dedicated to the responsibility of black men to their communities. Like many of Spike Lee’s films, it engages ideas and issues in the African American community that are worth discussing, and which resonate beyond the black community. A central theme of the film is the trouble men have in relating to each other without the usual conduit of women, sports or work. The screenplay is written as a series of conversations between various “couples” on their way to the march. There’s a gay black couple – a lightskinned, conservatively dressed, self-accepting man and a dark-skinned, dreadlocked, more hip-looking man, who is having trouble reconciling race pride with man love. The other couples include a middle-class police officer and a black Muslim, formerly a murdering street criminal; an old, sickly man with a respect for ancient African culture and a young collegiate man documenting the trip with his camera; and a neglectful father literally chained to his young, newly criminal son by court order. Finally, there is a selfcentered actor, the catalyst in the film, who seems both crudely racist and homophobic and engages the policeman, the film student, and the gay couple in often antagonist conversation. These characters make obvious the differences within the black community, including age, class, skin, and sexuality. They argue and discuss what it means to be a black man – its (con’t p. 70) stresses and pressures, pleasures and responsibilities.


Contributors Opal Palmer Adisa is a literary critic, writer and storyteller whose works have appeared in numerous anthologies, journals and magazines in the U.S., England, Canada and Jamaica. Her published works include Pina, The Many Eyed Fruit (1985), Bake-Face and Other Guava Stories (1986), traveling women (1989) and Tamarind and Mango Women (1992). She has a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies Literature and is currently an Associate Professor and Chair of Ethnic Studies/Cultural Diversity Program at California College of Arts and Crafts. She is interviewed in this issue of phati’tude. Linda Ashear has published two collections of poetry, Toward the Light (Croton Review Press, 1989) and The Rowers, The Swimmers and The Drowned (1996), which is reviewed in this issue of phati’tude. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she runs writing workshops for adults and children in Westchester and Rockland counties in New York and does readings at libraries, arts associations and colleges. She has published in numerous anthologies and literary magazines, including The Bellingham Review, Without Halos, and The Laurel Review. Jennifer Nicole Bacon is a recent graduate of Mount Vernon College with a B.A. in Human Development, and currently resides in Virginia. She is a poet and her creative writing has been featured in The Returning Woman and a self-published poetry journal. Chris Brandt’s poems and essays have appeared in magazines in the U.S. and Spain. His translation of Carmen Valle’s book Entre la vigilia y el sueno de las fieras was recently published as a bilingual edition by the Institute for Puerto Rican Culture in San Juan. Joseph Bruchac, III is an award-winning Abenaki author, poet and storyteller, as well as a scholar of Native American culture. His poems, articles and stories have appeared in more than 500 publications, from Parabola to National Geographic and Smithsonian magazines. He is the author of the novels Dawn Land and Long River, coauthor of the Keepers of the Earth series, and has recently published Roots of Survival, Native American Storytelling and the Sacred (Fulcrum Publishing, 1996), which is reviewed in this issue of phati’tude. Laura Y. Bowman is a poet, playwright, and writer of children’s stories. Her poetry has aired on New York radio stations WBAI and WNYE. She has performed throughout New York City, notably at the Apollo Theatre in conjunction with Inner City Broadcasting. Rozell Caldwell received his B.A. from Lane College and is the author of Things As They Seem (Challenger Press, 1986) and the privately published Tales Of The Griot (1996). His poetry has appeared regularly in literary journals. He is currently a history teacher in Brownsville, Tennessee. Leonard Chang has a B.A. from Harvard College, and an M.F.A. from the University of California at Irvine. His first novel, The Fruit ‘N Food, published recently, won the Black Heron Press Award for Social Fiction. His book reviews have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and Urban Tempo Magazine. Lucille Clifton is Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She has received many fellowships, awards and distinctions for her poetry collections and children’s books, including the Shelley Memorial Prize, the Charity Randall Citation, and an Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She is the only author to have two books of poetry chosen as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in one year: Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980 and Next: New Poems, both from BOA Editions, Ltd. Her current book, the terrible stories is reviewed in this issue of phati’tude. Darius Cooper is a professor of Literature/Film at San Diego Mesa College. His poetry was recently anthologized in Living In America: Poetry & Fiction by South Asian American Writers. His poems, stories and film criticisms have appeared in such publications as International Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, Film Quarterly, and The East-West Film Journal.

We’re All In This Together n Vol. 1 || No. 1

105


Clinton Crawford is an assistant professor in the Department of Language, Literature, Communication and Philosophy at Medgar Evers College, CUNY, in Brooklyn, NY. His most recent publication is Recasting Ancient Egypt in the African Context (Africa World Press, 1996). Gabrielle David, Editor-in-Chief of phati’tude, is a poet, writer, photographer and graphic artist. In 1995, she served as Literature Coordinator for Langston Hughes Library in Queens, NY where she organized a major poetry series. She has published two poetry collections, this is me, a collection of poems & things (CCI Books, 1994) and spring has returned & i am renewed (CCI Books, 1995). Sally de Mattia has published in the U.S. and Italy. She interviews writers for Omero Magazine in Rome, Italy, and is writing a play for Jump-Start Theater in San Antonio, TX. She lives in Naples, Italy. Barbara Joyce Donahue-Walters, has been writing poetry since 1969. Her career is in the field of social services and she is currently attending Hunter University School of Social Work. India DuBois, Managing Editor of phati’tude, writes songs and fiction in addition to poetry. A graduate of Columbia University’s M.F.A. program in Writing, she has performed her poetry and songs throughout the New York metropolitan area. Her first book, Jazz and the Evening Sun is reviewed in this issue of phati’tude. She is currently working on a new book of poetry, a novel and a children’s book. Maria Fama is the author of three books of poetry. Italian Notebook, a collaborative book of poems with Mary Russo Demetrick, is her latest. She is cofounder of Allegro, Inc., a video production company. Luis H. Francia is a poet and critic who has published two books of poetry. He edited the seminal Brown River, White Ocean, an anthology of Philippine Literature in English, writes for The Village Voice, A. Magazine and Asiaweek, and teaches Asian American literature at Sarah Lawrence College. He is one of the editors of the recently published anthology, Flippin’: Filipinos on America and is interviewed in this issue of phati’tude. Barbara Franklin, former nurse, educator and real estate manager, is currently pursuing her writing career full time. Her first collection of poetry, Higher Ground (1994) is in its second printing and she recently completed her second book, Spiritual Cultivation of an Afrocentric Soul (1995). Her poems appear in the anthology Poetic Voices. Daniel Garrett’s work has appeared in numerous publications including, Africa Report, Anything That Moves, Art & Antiques, the Audubon Activist, Black Film Reivew, Changing Men, Emerge and the Quarterly Black Review of Books. He is the founder of the Cultural Politics Discussion Group and has participated in various writing groups and workshops. César A. González-T., a Chicano teacher and writer, is the founding chair of Chicano Studies at San Diego Mesa College. He has published poetry, short fiction and literary criticism and his work has appeared in Bilingual Review, RiverSedge, Prairie Schooner, Nebraska Humanities and others. He has two titles currently distributed by Bilingual Press: Unwinding the Silence and Rudolfo A. Anaya: Focus on Criticism, and is currently coauthoring a comprehensive annotated bio-bibliography on the work of Anaya, for the Chicano Studies Library Division of California Press, Berkeley. Ray Gonzalez is a poet, essayist and editor. He is the editor of sixteen anthologies, most recently Currents From the Dancing River: Contemporary Latino Essays, Fiction, and Poetry (Harcourt Brace, 1994) and Muy Macho: Latino Men Confront Their Manhood (Anchor/Doubleday, 1996). Among his awards are a 1993 Before Columbus Foundation Award for Excellence in Editing, and a 1988 Colorado Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. He has served as Poetry Editor of The Bloomsbury Review for fifteen years and is currently assistant professor of English and Latin American Studies at the University of Illinois in Chicago. His book, The Heat Of Arrivals, is reviewed in this issue of phati’tude. M. Karima Grant is a winner of the 1994 MacArthur-Leithauser Travel Award Recipient for Excellence in Creative Writing. Her work has been featured in Red Clay Magazine, Canary Wine and African Voices. A full time writer, she is currently working on her first novel. Gábor G. Gyukics is a poet and literary translator. Born in Budapest, he has been living in the United States since 1988. A member of Pen International, Writers in Exile Section and ALTA, he writes in English and Hungarian, and translates from and to both languages. His works have appeared in the U.S. and Europe. William Hairston is an author, poet, playwright, actor, director, producer and public administrator, scriptwriter for U.S. government presentations; professional actor performing in New York City, on tour, in summer stock and in television shows. Recipient of several awards and honors and published in numerous anthologies, his most recent work is Sex & Conflict (University Editions, 1993), a novel.

106

phati’tude


Lola Haskins has published five books of poems, most recently Hunger, which won the 1992 Iowa Poetry Prize and has been reissued by Story Line Press. Two further books, Extranjers, and Desire Lines, New and Selcted Poems, are forthcoming from Story Line Press. She also writes prose and often collaborates with composers and is interviewed in this issue of phati’tude. Wasabi Kanastoga was born in Cuba and raised in Los Angeles. His poetry has appeared in The Bloomsbury Review, Colorado Review, Puerto Del Sol, and the anthology Paper Dance. His fiction has been published in the anthologies Iguana Dreams and Under The Pomegranate Tree. M. Malcolm King, Managing Editor of phati’tude, holds a B.A. in English from Long Island University, New York. The author of the poetry collection, Gem In I, his work has appeared in numerous anthologies. He has read his work in coffeehouses and libraries as well as on radio and television stations in the New York tri-state area. Nicholas Kolumban, born in Budapest, arrived in the U.S. after the Hungarian Revolution. He received his M.A. from Pennsylvania State University and has taught German literature in college and English in high school. He has eight books of poetry to his credit, four of them translations. His work has appeared in Artful Dodge, Another Chicago Magazine, Chariton Review and elsewhere. Reginald Lockett was recently awarded a 1996 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for his collection, Where The Birds Sing Bass (Jukebox Press, 1995). Currently an English teacher at San Jose City College, his poems, reviews, articles and essays have appeared in over sixty anthologies and periodicals, and he has performed poetry throughout California and around the nation. Benjamin V. Marshall has an MFA in Creative Writing, University of Massachusetts, and is the recipient of two New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowships and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. Plays produced and/or staged readings include: Atlanta; Joshua’s Wall, Philadelphia, 1995; and Boom Box, 1995, New York and HBO New Works 1995. His poetry has appeared in Nimrod, Obsidian I and II, and Flash-Bopp. Jesús Papoleto Meléndez is a performance-poet who distinguishes himself as a dynamic presenter of his works in the oral tradition, and has performed throughout the country, notably in California, Tijuana, Mexico, and New York. As a poet-teacher, his career has spanned 29 years, impacting the lives of tens of thousands of children of all ages across the country. His current collection is Concertos on Market Street (Kenetic Images Press, 1993). E. Ethelbert Miller is the director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University, and founder of the Ascension Poetry Reading Series, one of the oldest literary series in D.C., he has authored several books. His recent releases are First Light: New and Selected Poems (Black Classic Press, 1994) and he is editor of In Search of Color Everywhere: A Collection of African American Poetry (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1994). In 1996 he received an honorary doctorate of literature from Emory & Henry College. Lorraine Miller is an illustrator, artist and photographer. A graduate from SUNY Empire State College with a B.A. in Psychology, she is currently working on her M.A. at Hofstra University in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers throughout New York and her illustrations are featured in this issue of phati’tude. Margo Norman is the author of two books of poetry Laffin’ At Lini’ and My Lord, My God, The Beginning. She has been a member of the Black Writers Guild and was co-owner of the magazine, The BayViewer. Originally from Missouri, she makes her home in California. Janos Olah lives in Budapest, Hungary and has published three volumes of poetry and four novels. Since 1994 he has been the editor of Magyar Naplo/Hungarian Diary, a literary magazine in Budapest. He was awarded the prestigious Attila Jozesef Prize for Poetry in 1994 and his works have appeared in Hawaii Review, Massachusetts Review, and Silverfish Review. John I. Olmo is a poet and painter who has been writing poetry for the past five years, but has been committed to the craft for the past two. His work originates from life experiences and from the “six senses.” Presently, he is working on Poetry: Straight Up, and a new series of paintings. Leroy V. Quintana, one of the most recognized Chicano poets, has received the American Book Award twice, in 1981 for Sangre and in 1993 for The History of Home. His recent collection My Hair Turning Gray Among Strangers is reviewed in this issue of phati’tude. He currently teaches English at San Diego Mesa College in California. Marci R. Rendon, White Earth Anishinabe, is a mother, writer and sometimes performance artist. A former recipient of the Loft’s Inroads Writers of Color Award for Native Americans, she recently received a Jerome Fellowship from the Minneapolis Playwright’s Center; and Intermedia Arts Emerging Artists’ Installation award, and published her first children’s book, Pow Wow Summer (CarolRhoda, Inc., 1996). She is interviewed in this issue of phati’tude.

We’re All In This Together n Vol. 1 || No. 1

107


Louis Reyes Rivera has published several volumes of poetry, his most recent Scattered Scriptures (Shamal Books, 1996). His essays and poetry have appeared in numerous periodicals, including New York Newsday, Universal Black Writers Magazine, New Rain and Herejes y Mitificadores and ALOUD: Live from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Editor of several books, including John Oliver Killens’ Great Black Russian: The Life and Times of Alexander Pushkin (1989) he is currently a teacher at Pratt Institute and the host of El Barrio Speaks, a cable television program in New York City. He is interviewed in this issue of phati’tude. Charles Rossiter is the producer/host of Poetry Motel, seen on a network of community access television stations throughout upstate New York and Massachusetts. A member of the performance poetry group “3 Guys From Albany,” his poems have appeared in numerous anthologies, including Green Fuse, Maryland Poetry Review, Thema, Little Magazine, Heaven Bone, and A Gathering of Poets. His most recent collection is No, I Didn’t Steal This Baby, I’m the Daddy (Albany: A.P.D., 1995). Alexis K. Rotella is the author of over 40 haiku books and is a student of traditional Chinese medicine. Joyce Andrea Rothenberg, a/k/a Joyce Joyce Andrea is listed with Poets and Writers as a published and performance poet. Recently, she was the featured poet on Teachers & Writers/Poetryin-the-Morning Series radio program and performed at the Ubu Repertory Theatre in New York City. She is currently working on an anthology. Bob Slaymaker is a product of Columbia’s graduate writing program. His poems have appeared in many publications, including Essence, River Styx, the minnesota review, New York Quarterly, Exquisite Corpse and The Christian Science Monitor. Mary McLaughlin Slechta writes poetry and fiction out of her experience growing up in a community comprising of Jamaicans and African-Americans. She works with the Community Writers’ Project in Syracuse, NY and has performed her poetry with Sisterfriends. She has published in Forkroads, Exursus and Paterson Literary Journal. Angela Sternreich, Book Reviewer/Translations Coordinator of phati’tude, is an artist, writer and typesetter. She is currently attending Hofstra University’s Deaf Studies Program. Virgil Suarez is the author of Latin Jazz, The Cutter, Havana Thursdays and Going Under, all novels about the Cuban-American experience. His recent efforts include the best selling anthology, Iguana Dreams: New Latino Fiction, which he coauthored with Delia Poley. He recently edited the anthology, Paper Dance: 55 Latino Poets, with Victor Hernandez Cruz and Leroy V. Quintana. His poems and stories have appeared in numerous magazines and journals and he currently teaches at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Eileen Tabios, editor of The Asian Pacific American Journal, received Poet’s Magazine’s 1996 Iva Mary Williams Poetry Award. Her collection of poetry-related essays, In Progress, will be published in 1997 by the Asian American Writers Workshop (AAWW, NYC). Her fiction and poetry has been published in numerous publications including Flippin’: Filipinos Writing On America (AAWW, 1996), Bamboo Ridge, ELF: Eclectic Literary Forum, The Santa Barbara Review and Coffeehouse. Tafa is a painter from Ghana who now makes his home in New York City. Although his main concentration is visual art, he has been writing poetry and prose for many years and has published in African publications, including the national newspaper of Ghana. Lora R. Tucker, author of prose and poetry, is currently a member of the Harlem Writers Guild and the Langston Hughes Writers Guild of Sag Harbor, NY. She currently works as a Senior Office Designer at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Tanya Tyler writes poetry, prose, lyrics, plays and short stories. She has published in Essence magazine and served as board member and associate editor at Blind Beggar Press. Recently, an excerpt of her play, Wide River Crossing, was staged at the Newark Symphony Hall in New Jersey. Gina Valdés has published two books of poetry, Puentas y fronteras/Bridges and orders (Bilingual Press, 1996) and Comiendo lumbre/Eating Fire (Maize Press, 1986). Her poetry and fiction have been published in journals and anthologies in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe. Lenore Baeli Wang was the 1995 judge for the Wyoming State Writers Poetry Competition. Her chapbook, Born in the Year of the Pink Sink (Malafemmina Press) is available for purchase from the author. She currently teaches writing at Rider University. Laverne C. Williams, editor of the literary magazine SURVIVOR, has published in numerous literary magazines, including The Kerf, Haiku Headlines and The Caribbean Writer. Her new collection of poetry, Blue Mood: The Depression Chronicles is due for release, and she is currently editing an anthology on the subject of women and rape, for which she won a grant from The Puffin Foundation.

108

phati’tude


phati'tude Literary Magazine Vol. 1, No. 1  

We're All in this Together

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you