Sunday Rally Dispatch is a collection of news updates of interest to our poet-blogger community members. Your contributions from your area of the world, your activities, or your interests are welcome. Please forward them to Jamie Dedes of Musing by Moonlight at email@example.com. Contributions are subject to editorial discretion and space constraints. Feedback welcome.
ON THIS DAY in 1981 the Israeli poet and journalist, Uri Zvi Greenberg died. He was born in Poland in 1896 in what was then Austria-Hungary. The son of a distinguished Hasidic family, Uri Zvi Greenberg was raised in Lvov and received a traditional religious education. Before he was twenty, his first poems, written in Yiddish and Hebrew, were published in contemporary periodicals. He was drafted into the Austrian army in 1915 and served until he deserted two years later. Returning to Lvov, he witnessed the pogroms of November, 1918, an experience that made a formative impression on him. MORE
A Land Lost by Uri Zvi Greenberg
Trusting their follow though their pilot is out
Blind to what’s written on the walls all about
Written by a hand moved by G-d’s ire
Hubris of traitors that to lead aspire.
My people obey them like sheep in human attire
Multitudes drifting to their funeral pyre
The herders know not, but I know what they do
For most are in the pit and the rest at its portal
I know, for I totter with my feet on its edge
dragging myself as the most wretched of prophets
of land lost by the quilt of its leaders.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
A mother is a mother still
The holiest thing alive.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
MICHAEL YOST (Michael’s Lair) has proven himself to be a sharp and versatile poet: sometimes serious, sometimes funny, always a good read. Here today on his birthday – Happy Birthday, Michael – he answers some questions for Dispatch.
JAMIE: I think you have been blogging now for about seven months. How's it going? What are you getting out of it and what have you learned? Has the JP community been helpful to you? How?
MICHAEL: Yes I started my blog, Michael’s Lair in October of last year. It’s been going well and for the most part it’s been a joy for me to write and release pent up emotions. That’s what this started as; a way to find myself again, to pick up the pen after dropping it forty-plus years ago.
I’m currently retired, pensioned and living in a disabled Veterans facility in Long Beach, California U.S.A. run by a non-profit corporation called U.S. Vets. I have great debt and sense of gratitude for what U.S. Vets has done for me but one day I hope to be able to click my heels 3 times and suddenly be somewhere else I can call home.
One of the disabilities I have is bi-polar type 2 and the differences between type 1 and type 2 are best described as those with type II bipolar disorder do not experience mania. Instead, these individuals experience major depressive episodes and periods of hypomania. (Mania is one of the emotional extremes associated with bipolar disorder. Hypomania presents many of the same symptoms, but to a lesser degree.)
Recently, I found a new doctor, a new drug, Lamictil, and a wonderful social worker who has a BA in Literature from Yale, A Masters in Public Policy from UCLA, and is completing her second Master’s program in social work this semester at USC.
Sarah, an Intern for U.S. VETS, started a creative writing class in October 2010 and that’s where the birth of my blog started. My new Doctor, Anna, got me started back on a new medication specifically for bi-polar 2 in March, and leads us up to this point, the beginning of May and my 57th birthday, May 8!
I’ve gotten my life back into some order after getting a divorce, being homeless for a while, dealing with open heart surgery, and a couple drug and alcohol rehab programs. I now have a clearer direction as to where I’m going and knowing the direction is more than half the battle; just ask anyone who has ever hitch-hiked anywhere.
The JP community’s feedback and support has been extraordinary in advice given and in learning new forms and styles of poetry. At home, my local support group, Anna, Sarah, and my creative writing group have helped me in building my Committing Poetry structured environment and moral support when needed.
JAMIE: You often writing poems that are humorous and even irreverent, but just as often they are touching, tender pieces. I believe several recently have been on aging. You are flexible. How did you come to writing poetry and why? Tell us a bit about your process.
MICHAEL: What you read goes with experiences of that day to things that happened over forty years ago. There’s no rhyme or reason to when the pencil or keyboard chokes them out other than an event brought on by a current or relived emotion. There is a reason for the wide gap of forty years. It was about forty years ago I put down the pencil and picked up using drugs and alcohol. I had no knowledge about bi-polar or any other mental issues but I figured out I could self-medicate. Now a part of me is starting to grow up after learning to forgive myself; beginning to grow out of that time period through the writing process and group therapy.
When I was young I didn’t want to be Dylan Thomas, but I did want to be Bob Dylan and be a rock and roll singer and writer. The shoe still fits, but the ankles are too swollen to wear them with any comfort; so now I just write and enjoy those around me with respect and mutual support.
JAMIE: What fuels your drive to poetry and what experiences most inspire you?
MICHAEL: The fuel that drives me to Commit Poetry is a need to write about things I could never say in prose or in free verse at times. To Commit Poetry means writing to completion the emotion and doing it in the least amount of words possible. Words and their various meanings should be drawn into poetry to double or triple the impact for the readers. Speaking for me only, stretching any poem beyond 4 stanzas is asking for too much of a commitment to complete reading the poem. On the other hand I do enjoy a good short story.
JAMIE: In your About, you mentioned the possibility of returning to school. What will you study this time? Why?
MICHAEL: If and when school happens again it will be a degree in English. I have to rewrite the About portion of my blog soon, so watch for the information when I post the updated version.
JAMIE: My son and daughter-in-law read my blog. You mentioned several adult children. Do they read your blog? How's that going?
MICHAEL: I have 4 adult children and I don’t think they are reading the blog right now. If they do read they are keeping their comments to themselves. What is nice about the written word is it can survive beyond the lifetime of the author.
Thanks, Michael, for such an honest, authentic interview and for your uncommon perspective of Commit Poetry.
|Maria "Mama" McCray|
NEWS FROM Danielle Mari (Mission Improvisational): March, the same month in which a cataclysmic quake shook the planet hard enough to shift Earth on its axis also saw Chicago’s slam poetry scene shaken to the core with the loss of one of its most vibrant personalities and performers, Maria “Mama” McCray. A seismic force herself, McCray frequented Chicago’s open mics and slams, sharing her particular brand of fiery and personal spoken word since the mid-nineties. Reflected in the variety of subjects her poetry explores is Mama’s dynamic life journey.
She earned a BA in Theatre and Liberal Arts from the Munich extension of the University of Maryland, served the US Marine Corps for fourteen months in Vietnam, and racked up performance credits ranging from appearances in Spike Lee’s Mo’ Betta Blues and Chicago’s FreeStreet Theatre to her nine year membership on the Chicago Slam Team at Nationals. In her book, though, Growth, McCray credits her “real training in ‘the word’ & theatre to the instruction... received from Patrick Henry and having lived in Cabrini-Green.”
Her work defies categorization in that it spans so many topics, so many aesthetics, and so many emotions. Yes, she discusses race and all its complexities... and why wouldn’t she, considering her complex background. As McCray says in her piece “EVOLVING PAST THE RACE BIAS or FITTING IN or WE’RE ALREADY HERE”:
I AM A BLACK IRISH-NIGER-RIO-DE-JAN-NIPPO-NEESE-ZULU-
NORTH CAROLINE- NEW ZEAL LAND-OF-HOPE & GLORY-
HALLELUJAH-ITE... THAT’S WHAT I AM!
Yes, she tackles deeply personal issues, her complex relationships with her children, her family, her past. And yes, she examines her equally complex sexuality and feminism, sometimes with open-wounded pain, sometimes with gut-splitting humor, always with honesty. Here’s a performance circuit favorite:
WHAT WOMEN WANT... A LIST
COOKS! I MEAN REALLY COOKS! OOoohhHH!
FOOD TOO! DOESN’T FINISH FIRST!
READS! NOT JUST COMIC STRIPS, STOCKS OR SPORT PAGE, OR THE PLAYBOY
PINUPS, HEIGHT, WEIGHT & AGE. DOESN’T FINISH FIRST!
HAS A THOUGHT OUT LIFE PLAN,
IS SOCIALLY CONSCIENCE & TAKES A STAND.
DOESN’T FINISH FIRST!
LOVES TO DANCE, LOVES CROWDS & QUIET SECLUSION,
CAN CALM CHAOS & MY CONFUSION.
DOESN’T FINISH FIRST!
IS NOT A DOPE OR ON IT, NOT NECROPHILE,
PEDOPHILE, BABY BUGGERER PILE OF SHIT!
DOESN’T FINISH FIRST!
IS MY FRIEND, SEES MORE THAN HANK OF HAIR & BONE & AT THE FIRST SIGN OF
TROUBLE, WON’LEAVE ME ALONE.
DOESN’T FINISH FIRST!
DOESN’T BELIEVE IN ANY KIND OF VIOLENCE.
& BETWEEN LOVE & LUST, KNOWS THE
DIFFERENCE! DOESN’T FINISH FIRST!
MAYBE GAY, MAYBE STRAIGHT, MAYBE BI, BUT
NOT HAPPILY, PATHOLOGICALLY INCLINED TO LIE &
DOESN’T FINISH, LORD LET ME FINISH...FIRST!
The loss of Maria “Mama” McCray to breast cancer means a long list of tragedies in the minds of a long list of people whose lives she touched: her family, her children, her drinking buddies, her slam pals, her fans. At the end of the introduction to Growth, Maria is quoted as saying, “Poetry is both therapeutic, cathartic & political. I call the spoken word ‘Public emotional flagellation’.” This underscores another loss, and that’s the fact that those who were not fortunate enough to catch her performing at the Green Mill, Weeds, or Cafe Aloha (among others) now will never be able to witness Maria McCray’s elemental energy live. Luckily, a few audio recordings still exist. Please enjoy them and pass them on!
For more information about Maria McCray, visit e-poets network HERE.Jamie’s note: Danielle was kind enough to pass on audio of Maria; however, I was unable to download it on my computer to post here. You can access the audios on e-poets network. Danielle has also written more about Maria on her blog HERE and this includes two poems by Danielle in homage to Maria.
JP is on Face book. Link to us HERE.
Link to Jingle Poetry on Twitter HERE.
PLEASE JOIN IN
JINGLE POETRY POTLUCK, WEEK 34
STARTS TONIGHT AT 8 P.M. CENTRAL
EVERYONE IS INVITED…
INLINKZ WILL STAY OPEN FOR 72 HOURS.
Please email news announcements to Jamie Dedes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please forward photograph or illustrations and include all necessary links.