Category Archives: women writers

Gifts for Mother Maya by Jolivette Anderson

 

 

Maya Angelou’s works have been criticized as works of “uplift” and not genuine art. What are your thoughts on this?

Jolivette:  Art must be functional. Artist must be critical thinkers who observe, analyze, interrogate, and offer solutions to the problems within their (our) communities. As a poet, Dr. Mother Angelou observed the pain of her people.

She analyzed the conditions of her people. She interrogated herself to see how she could best contribute to the ongoing work, begun before she was born, to help heal the hurt and pain of her people. It is obvious that her answers came in the form of ‘be positive’ and ‘uplift’ your people with your work and words and your work-in-words. There is nothing more genuine than seeing ones own humanity and the humanity of others and being positive in the face of treacherous negativity.

How would you characterize Angelou’s style—her language, her tone, her choice of metaphors, and so on?
Continue reading Gifts for Mother Maya by Jolivette Anderson

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learning audacity

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(my autographed copy of “The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni”)

I was introduced to Nikki Giovanni through the poem, “Ego Tripping”

“I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
I cannot be comprehended
except by my permission”

“I sowed diamonds in my back yard
My bowels deliver uranium
the filings from my fingernails are
semi-precious jewels”

I was maybe a senior in high school when I found Giovanni through this poem at my local library. And I remember the embarrassed feeling I got after I read the poem. I thought…”who is this woman bragging on herself?” “who does she think she is to be referencing herself a Queen and being the mother to Hannibal and Noah?” I remember it felt great but it was also foreign. I almost didn’t want to be caught reading it.

What I realize now is that may have been my first time being introduced to an African American feminine narrative.
The poem wasn’t about doors or boats from Robert Frost.
The poem wasn’t about hope and feathers from Emily Dickinson.
It wasn’t the blues from Langston Hughes.
It wasn’t Walt Whitman or Anne Sexton or Paul Lawrence Dunbar…
or my beloved Maya Angelou and her Caged Bird…

Nikki Giovanni was the first time I read an African American woman refer to herself as beautiful and being directly connected to all things beautiful in the art world of poetry.

I remembering sitting on the floor in the middle of the aisle at the library and reading the poems in her book and imagining a Tennessee cloud looking like cotton candy… women being judged for the length of their Sunday school dresses… summer love… and even to this day when someone mentions her name… it makes me smile and remember meeting her in the library that afternoon.

When I walked across the Pettus Bridge in Selma for the 50th anniversary earlier this year, Rev. Al Sharpton said something in a sermon that struck a cord with me. He said, “We praise our dead and condemn the living.” It made me want to acknowledge everyone that has served as inspiration to me before they left this planet!

So today, I acknowledge Nikki Giovanni! I speak her name for inspiring me and making me feel so embarrassingly, wonderful and warm about myself one afternoon at the library 🙂 The audacity of learning from poetry!

“Why did we need a movement for you to #SayHerName”?

She in Texas / South Dakota
She in Alabama / South Carolina
Empty beds / abandoned hairbrushes
unused minutes
a forgotten body
Somebody #SayHerName

sharing my love of literature

This article introduced me to Nella Larsen. I love being an “always student”! It’s a great read and you may meet someone new too!

Literary Ladies Guide to the Writing Life: 6 Classic African American Women You Should Know More About

lovin’

There’s something intensely intimate about cooking a meal for a man
then having him hold your hand across the table and say  / grace.

animated-couple

In between the “I love you’s”
this is how we reconnect:
I straddle and clutch on to him
for my dear life       and       he /
recharges himself inside of me with all I have to offer  /  then
me and my man          we go out and change
the
world.
from the poetry book, Pocket Honey, Wind & Hips

blog world entry

All is well.  In my life of literature and living that is.  I’ve had an incredible year thus far with working on a television show, writing and acting. Very exciting!


Now we are in the fall already… I have mixed emotions about that.  Summer is my favorite time of year. Or honestly, it may be that I enjoy the daylight savings time frame.  But with winter I have to be mindful of my moods. I lose energy, I lose ambition and drive. I’ve never identified it as depression but it could be.

So like always, I am working on my favorite project to date! (I say that for all of them 🙂  This one started as a new collection of short stories but it may be considered a novel. You know how things take a life of their own once you begin them? That is what this project did and I am so excited to share it with the world.

I look forward to reconnecting with my blog world friends. It’s been awhile! Stay tuned and I’ll be hanging around your pages as well.

love, nskies