Category: <span>Literature</span>

This Festival en Pays Rêvé, wow…

The lineup of this literary festival in Martinique is absolutely amazing. So many fabulous multi-faceted creatives. I really wish I could be there especially to witness the reading of Christiane Taubira’s Frivolités and to see Marijosé Alie read from her work. Kudos to Viktor Lazlo for organizing this gem. There are so many connections between Martinican legends (Césaire, Fanon, etc.) and Black writers in the U.S. Martinique is a small island with a big footprint.

Festival en Pays Rêvé


Why I Wake Early
by Mary Oliver

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

From the collection Why I Wake Early: New Poems


Today’s poem-a-day from

To Keep the Memory of Charlotte Forten Grimké
Angelina Weld Grimké

Still are there wonders of the dark and day:
The muted shrilling of shy things at night,
So small beneath the stars and moon;
The peace, dream-frail, but perfect while the light
Lies softly on the leaves at noon.
These are, and these will be
Until eternity;
But she who loved them well has gone away.

Each dawn, while yet the east is veiléd grey,
The birds about her window wake and sing;
And far away, each day, some lark
I know is singing where the grasses swing;
Some robin calls and calls at dark.
These are, and these will be
Until eternity;
But she who loved them well has gone away.

The wild flowers that she loved down green ways stray;
Her roses lift their wistful buds at dawn,
But not for eyes that loved them best;
Only her little pansies are all gone,
Some lying softly on her breast.
And flowers will bud and be
Until eternity;
But she who loved them well has gone away.

Where has she gone? And who is there to say?
But this we know: her gentle spirit moves
And is where beauty never wanes,
Perchance by other streams, mid other groves;
And to us there, ah! she remains
A lovely memory
Until eternity;
She came, she loved, and then she went away.

*This poem is in the public domain.

Selected Works of Angelina Weld Grimké
(Oxford University Press, 2006)


Written in 1883 to help raise money for the construction Statue of Liberty‘s pedestal. The monument was dedicated on October 28, 1886. The poem was added in 1903, 16 years after Lazarus died.

Visitors on the way to the Statue of Liberty. Photo: National Park Service.
Statue of Liberty. Photo: National Park Service.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus (1849–1887)


So great to see one of my peeps @herreraylozano reading tonight @ModernTimesSF (at Modern Times Bookstore)

Literature Photos


“Why should literature be easy? Sometimes you can do what you want to do in a simple, direct way that is absolutely right. Sometimes you can’t. Reading is not a passive act. Books are not TV. Art of all kinds is an interactive challenge. The person who makes the work and the person who comes to the work both have a job to do. I am never willfully obscure, but I do ask for some effort.”

— Jeanette Winterson, Art & Lies, Jeanette Winterson