SDFP once again celebrated poets and poetry in April
By Brent E. Beltrán
After Anna Daniels wonderful job curating 2014’s National Poetry Month here at San Diego Free Press I decided to volunteer my services for 2015. Anna posted a poem here every single day in April last year.
I had no plans to be as ambitious as her but with my background as a former literary publisher I knew I could handle the task of curating selections during the month. But there was no way was I going to seek out thirty separate pieces!
Hopefully our readers enjoyed the selections during the month. Here is a breakdown of the poems and poetry related essays that were shared during National Poetry Month.
The month started off with my opening article, SDFP to Commemorate National Poetry Month Throughout April, on what I had planned to post during poetry month. It included a video of my late mentor raúlrsalinas performing his poem, accompanied by a full band, Hail Pachuco!
Next up was Sal is Short for Salvador by former San Diegan and Taco Shop Poet Adolfo Guzman-Lopez.
On April 2 the great progressive San Diego poet and teacher, Steve Kowit, passed away in his sleep. The local literary community mourned his passing and we here at SDFP posted his poem Last Will by Steve Kowit. That night I dedicated the inaugural Poetic Libations reading at Border X Brewing in Barrio Logan in his honor and numerous people, including myself, read some of his work.
SDFP’s very own Editorial Board member and City Heights: Up Close & Personal columnist Anna Daniels shared her creative side with Redemption in City Heights an ode to a homeless man in her community.
In Will Falk’s essay The Dead Write No Poems he ends with the lines, “Is poetry worthwhile? If it can make you fall in love with the world, it certainly is.”
In text and video form San Diego poet Viet Mai shared the poem, Fallen Leaves, about the disconnect between himself and his Vietnamese grandmother who passed away.
North County poet Sonia Gutierrez contributed her poem, Grandchildren of the United Fruit Company, in text and audio form, which connected US policies in Central America with the migration of Central American children to the US.
Jim Moreno, in a heartfelt piece, wrote to Steve Kowit’s widow Mary in An Inconvenient Companion: For Mary Kowit .
In Far Away, Arizona poet/activist Tara Evonne Trudell wrote of the travails of those crossing the US/Mexico border through the Sonoran Desert in search of a better life.
Even I got all poetical with my tribute poem, This is for…, to those that came before and continue to make the Barrio Logan and the barrio arts scene what it is.
Pedro Pietri’s poem, Puerto Rican Obituary, is a seminal part of the Nuyorican Poetry Movement. I am happy to have known the man and to share this import part of Latino literary history with SDFP readers.
Another late, literary great is Amiri Baraka. His work shaped an entire generation of African American poets and activists. A Video Interview With and Poetry by Amiri Baraka is an important watch for those interested in the intersection between arts and activism in the black community.
Poet/activist/journalist Will Falk refound his poetry funk with My California Drought.
SDFP occasional contributor and poet Karen Kenyon shared a piece dedicated to the late Steve Kowit, How to Make a Poem.
I wrote a short intro to a video of my friend Papo discussing his work on the fire escape of his El Barrio apartment in New York in Poet Jesús “Papoleto” Meléndez Reads His Work.
In addition to the selections made during the month resident SDFP poet laureate, Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes, continued to contribute his stunning Geo-Poetic Spaces video poems which appear every Friday.
You can watch and read Ish’s entire Geo-Poetic Spaces column here.
Once again San Diego Free Press celebrated poets and poetry during the month of April. In the past we’ve gotten some flack from local journalists for posting poetry here. But we don’t care. Poetry is here to stay at San Diego Free Press.