Wednesday, November 21, 2007

No Thanksgiving

On ThanksTaking

The Story of Thanksgiving

The Puritans were not just simple religious conservatives persecuted by the Church of England. They were outcasts and fugitives who came to the new world to establish a "Holy Kingdom". And they came to America in at least 100 ships. Their plan was to take the land from the native people to build their own country. They were the "chosen ones," or so they thought, in a holy war against Satan. Here is what Thomas Mather, the leader of the Puritans, was reported to have said on Thanksgiving day;

"In a Thanksgiving sermon delivered at Plymouth in 1623, Thomas Mather, an elder, gave special thanks to God for the devastating plague that wiped out most of the native Wampanoag Indians. Mather added in his sermon that he praised God for destroying chiefly the young men and the children, whom he described as the "very seeds of increase, thus clearing the forests to make way for a better growth."

To the Pilgrims, the Indians were heathens and instruments of the devil. The Indians were considered dangerous. They courted them, waiting for additional ships to arrive. The real reason behind the first Thanksgiving feast was to negotiate a treaty for land that would give the Pilgrims time to build their Army. The irony was that the Indians brought most of the food for that first feast.

As the Pilgrims gained military strength, they rejected friendship. One night in 1637, without provocation, Gov. Bradford, the commander of the colony, sent his militia against his Indian neighbors. The soldiers conducted a surprise assault and while the village slept, every man, woman and child were killed. Bradford used these words to describe his night of fire and death:

"It was a fearful sight to see them frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same and horrible was the stink and stench thereof. But the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice and they [the Massachusetts militiamen] gave praise thereof to God." Afterward he called on his congregation to give thanks to God for the attack "that on this day we have sent 600 heathen souls to hell."

A decade later, most of the New England Indians were either exterminated or fled to Canada. Others were sold into slavery. It was the success of selling Indians into slavery that prompted the Puritan ship-owners to go to Africa for black slaves, bringing them to America and selling them to colonies of the South. The first ship deployed for this purpose was the Mayflower.

Upon learning this it was a sad revelation about this special holiday. The TRV sessions were conducted in the blind and do tend to confirm the historical record of Thanksgiving as a bloody and terrible episode in American history. Certainly, not what we were all taught to believe growing up. But after thinking about it, though the history we have learned may be in error, it doesn't take away the intent of millions of Americans who on this day raise a glass and toast family and friends celebrating and giving thanks for their love and bounty. (However, This bubble of illusion still needs to be busted into reality-AUG)

It is also comforting to know that we have access to the truth. Even though it might be painful or not be the truth we want, at least it is the truth. And knowing the truth is always better than honoring a lie.

From the Matrix site
Deconstructing the Myths of “The First Thanksgiving”
by Judy Dow (Abenaki) and Beverly Slapin
Revised 06/12/06

What is it about the story of “The First Thanksgiving” that makes it essential to be taught in virtually every grade from preschool through high school? What is it about the story that is so seductive? Why has it become an annual elementary school tradition to hold Thanksgiving pageants, with young children dressing up in paper-bag costumes and feather-duster headdresses and marching around the schoolyard? Why is it seen as necessary for fake “pilgrims” and fake “Indians” (portrayed by real children, many of whom are Indian) to sit down every year to a fake feast, acting out fake scenarios and reciting fake dialogue about friendship? And why do teachers all over the country continue (for the most part, unknowingly) to perpetuate this myth year after year after year?

Is it because as Americans we have a deep need to believe that the soil we live on and the country on which it is based was founded on integrity and cooperation? This belief would help contradict any feelings of guilt that could haunt us when we look at our role in more recent history in dealing with other indigenous peoples in other countries. If we dare to give up the “myth” we may have to take responsibility for our actions both concerning indigenous peoples of this land as well as those brought to this land in violation of everything that makes us human. The realization of these truths untold might crumble the foundation of what many believe is a true democracy. As good people, can we be strong enough to learn the truths of our collective past? Can we learn from our mistakes? This would be our hope.

We offer these myths and facts to assist students, parents and teachers in thinking critically about this holiday, and deconstructing what we have been taught about the history of this continent and the world. (Note: We have based our “fact” sections in large part on the research, both published and unpublished, that Abenaki scholar Margaret M. Bruchac developed in collaboration with the Wampanoag Indian Program at Plimoth Plantation. We thank Marge for her generosity. We thank Doris Seale and Lakota Harden for their support.)


Myth #1: “The First Thanksgiving” occurred in 1621.

Fact: No one knows when the “first” thanksgiving occurred. People have been giving thanks for as long as people have existed. Indigenous nations all over the world have celebrations of the harvest that come from very old traditions; for Native peoples, thanksgiving comes not once a year, but every day, for all the gifts of life. To refer to the harvest feast of 1621 as “The First Thanksgiving” disappears Indian peoples in the eyes of non-Native children.


Myth #2: The people who came across the ocean on the Mayflower were called Pilgrims.

Fact: The Plimoth settlers did not refer to themselves as “Pilgrims.” Pilgrims are people who travel for religious reasons, such as Muslims who make a pilgrimage to Mecca. Most of those who arrived here from England were religious dissidents who had broken away from the Church of England. They called themselves “Saints”; others called them “Separatists.” Some of the settlers were “Puritans,” dissidents but not separatists who wanted to “purify” the Church. It wasn’t until around the time of the American Revolution that the name “Pilgrims” came to be associated with the Plimoth settlers, and the “Pilgrims” became the symbol of American morality and Christian faith, fortitude, and family. (1)


Myth #3: The colonists came seeking freedom of religion in a new land.

Fact: The colonists were not just innocent refugees from religious persecution. By 1620, hundreds of Native people had already been to England and back, most as captives; so the Plimoth colonists knew full well that the land they were settling on was inhabited. Nevertheless, their belief system taught them that any land that was “unimproved” was “wild” and theirs for the taking; that the people who lived there were roving heathens with no right to the land. Both the Separatists and Puritans were rigid fundamentalists who came here fully intending to take the land away from its Native inhabitants and establish a new nation, their “Holy Kingdom.” The Plimoth colonists were never concerned with “freedom of religion” for anyone but themselves. (2)


Myth #4: When the “Pilgrims” landed, they first stepped foot on “Plymouth Rock.”

Fact: When the colonists landed, they sought out a sandy inlet in which to beach the little shallop that carried them from the Mayflower to the mainland. This shallop would have been smashed to smithereens had they docked at a rock, especially a Rock. Although the Plimoth settlers built their homes just up the hill from the Rock, William Bradford in Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, does not even mention the Rock; writing only that they “unshipped our shallop and drew her on land.” (3) The actual “rock” is a slab of Dedham granodiorite placed there by a receding glacier some 20,000 years ago. It was first referred to in a town surveying record in 1715, almost 100 years after the landing. Since then, the Rock has been moved, cracked in two, pasted together, carved up, chipped apart by tourists, cracked again, and now rests as a memorial to something that never happened. (4)

It’s quite possible that the myth about the “Pilgrims” landing on a “Rock” originated as a reference to the New Testament of the Christian bible, in which Jesus says to Peter, “And I say also unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church and the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) The appeal to these scriptures gives credence to the sanctity of colonization and the divine destiny of the dominant culture. Although the colonists were not dominant then, they behaved as though they were.


Myth #5: The Pilgrims found corn.

Fact: Just a few days after landing, a party of about 16 settlers led by Captain Myles Standish followed a Nauset trail and came upon an iron kettle and a cache of Indian corn buried in the sand. They made off with the corn and returned a few days later with reinforcements. This larger group “found” a larger store of corn, about ten bushels, and took it. They also “found” several graves, and, according to Mourt’s Relation, “brought sundry of the prettiest things away” from a child’s grave and then covered up the corpse. They also “found” two Indian dwellings and “some of the best things we took away with us.” (5) There is no record that restitution was ever made for the stolen corn, and the Wampanoag did not soon forget the colonists’ ransacking of Indian graves. (6)


Myth #6: Samoset appeared out of nowhere, and along with Squanto became friends with the Pilgrims. Squanto helped the Pilgrims survive and joined them at “The First Thanksgiving.”

Fact: Samoset, an eastern Abenaki chief, was the first to contact the Plimoth colonists. He was investigating the settlement to gather information and report to Massasoit, the head sachem in the Wampanoag territory. In his hand, Samoset carried two arrows: one blunt and one pointed. The question to the settlers was: are you friend or foe? Samoset brought Tisquantum (Squanto), one of the few survivors of the original Wampanoag village of Pawtuxet, to meet the English and keep an eye on them. Tisquantum had been taken captive by English captains several years earlier, and both he and Samoset spoke English. Tisquantum agreed to live among the colonists and serve as a translator. Massasoit also sent Hobbamock and his family to live near the colony to keep an eye on the settlement and also to watch Tisquantum, whom Massasoit did not trust. The Wampanoag oral tradition says that Massasoit ordered Tisquantum killed after he tried to stir up the English against the Wampanoag. Massasoit himself lost face after his years of dealing with the English only led to warfare and land grabs. Tisquantum is viewed by Wampanoag people as a traitor, for his scheming against other Native people for his own gain. Massasoit is viewed as a wise and generous leader whose affection for the English may have led him to be too tolerant of their ways. (7)


Myth #7: The Pilgrims invited the Indians to celebrate the First Thanksgiving.

Fact: According to oral accounts from the Wampanoag people, when the Native people nearby first heard the gunshots of the hunting colonists, they thought that the colonists were preparing for war and that Massasoit needed to be informed. When Massasoit showed up with 90 men and no women or children, it can be assumed that he was being cautious. When he saw there was a party going on, his men then went out and brought back five deer and lots of turkeys. (8)

In addition, both the Wampanoag and the English settlers were long familiar with harvest celebrations. Long before the Europeans set foot on these shores, Native peoples gave thanks every day for all the gifts of life, and held thanksgiving celebrations and giveaways at certain times of the year. The Europeans also had days of thanksgiving, marked by religious services. So the coming together of two peoples to share food and company was not entirely a foreign thing for either. But the visit that by all accounts lasted three days was most likely one of a series of political meetings to discuss and secure a military alliance. Neither side totally trusted the other: The Europeans considered the Wampanoag soulless heathens and instruments of the devil, and the Wampanoag had seen the Europeans steal their seed corn and rob their graves. In any event, neither the Wampanoag nor the Europeans referred to this feast/meeting as “Thanksgiving.” (9)


Myth #8: The Pilgrims provided the food for their Indian friends.

Fact: It is known that when Massasoit showed up with 90 men and saw there was a party going on, they then went out and brought back five deer and lots of turkeys. Though the details of this event have become clouded in secular mythology, judging by the inability of the settlers to provide for themselves at this time and Edward Winslow’s letter of 1622 (10), it is most likely that Massasoit and his people provided most of the food for this “historic” meal. (11)


Myth #9: The Pilgrims and Indians feasted on turkey, potatoes, berries, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and popcorn.

Fact: Both written and oral evidence show that what was actually consumed at the harvest festival in 1621 included venison (since Massasoit and his people brought five deer), wild fowl, and quite possibly nasaump—dried corn pounded and boiled into a thick porridge, and pompion—cooked, mashed pumpkin. Among the other food that would have been available, fresh fruits such as plums, grapes, berries and melons would have been out of season. It would have been too cold to dig for clams or fish for eels or small fish. There were no boats to fish for lobsters in rough water that was about 60 fathoms deep. There was not enough of the barley crop to make a batch of beer, nor was there a wheat crop. Potatoes and sweet potatoes didn’t get from the south up to New England until the 18th century, nor did sweet corn. Cranberries would have been too tart to eat without sugar to sweeten them, and that’s probably why they wouldn’t have had pumpkin pie, either. Since the corn of the time could not be successfully popped, there was no popcorn. (12)


Myth #10: The Pilgrims and Indians became great friends.

Fact: A mere generation later, the balance of power had shifted so enormously and the theft of land by the European settlers had become so egregious that the Wampanoag were forced into battle. In 1637, English soldiers massacred some 700 Pequot men, women and children at Mystic Fort, burning many of them alive in their homes and shooting those who fled. The colony of Connecticut and Massachusetts Bay Colony observed a day of thanksgiving commemorating the massacre. By 1675, there were some 50,000 colonists in the place they had named “New England.” That year, Metacom, a son of Massasoit, one of the first whose generosity had saved the lives of the starving settlers, led a rebellion against them. By the end of the conflict known as “King Philip’s War,” most of the Indian peoples of the Northeast region had been either completely wiped out, sold into slavery, or had fled for safety into Canada. Shortly after Metacom’s death, Plimoth Colony declared a day of thanksgiving for the English victory over the Indians. (13)


Myth #11: Thanksgiving is a happy time.

Fact: For many Indian people, “Thanksgiving” is a time of mourning, of remembering how a gift of generosity was rewarded by theft of land and seed corn, extermination of many from disease and gun, and near total destruction of many more from forced assimilation. As currently celebrated in this country, “Thanksgiving” is a bitter reminder of 500 years of betrayal returned for friendship.


(1) Correspondence with Abenaki scholar Margaret M. Bruchac. See also Plimoth Plantation, “A Key to Historical and Museum Terms,”; “Who Were the Pilgrims?”

(2) See Note 1.

(3) See William Bradford’s Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, p. 19.

(4) Conversation with Douglas Frink, Archaeology Consulting Team, Inc. See also Plimoth Plantation, “The Adventures of Plimoth Rock,”

(5) See William Bradford’s Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, p. 28.

(6) See “The Saints Come Sailing In,” in Dorothy W. Davids and Ruth A. Gudinas, “Thanksgiving: A New Perspective (and its Implications in the Classroom)” in Thanksgiving: A Native Perspective, pp. 70-71.

(7) Correspondence with Margaret M. Bruchac about the relationship Samoset, Tisquantum, Hobbamock, and Massasoit. See also Margaret M. Bruchac and Catherine O’Neill Grace, 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving.

(8) See Margaret M. Bruchac and Catherine O’Neill Grace, ibid.

(9) For a description of how the European settlers regarded the Wampanoag, as well as evidence of their theft of seed corn and funerary objects, see Mourt’s Relation. See also Margaret M. Bruchac and Catherine O’Neill Grace, ibid.

(10) See Edward Winslow, Good Newes from New England: A True Relation of Things Very Remarkable at the Plantation of Plimoth in New England.

(11) See Duane Champagne, Native America: Portrait of the Peoples. Detroit: Visible Ink (1994), pp. 81-82; and Chuck Larsen, op. cit., p. 51.

(12) See Plimoth Plantation, “No Popcorn!,”, and “A First Thanksgiving Dinner for Today,” See also Margaret M. Bruchac and Catherine O’Neill Grace, op. cit.

(13) See “King Philip Cries Out for Revenge,” pp. 43-45; and “There Are Many Thanksgiving Stories to Tell,” pp. 49-52, in Thanksgiving: A Native Perspective. See also Margaret M. Bruchac and Catherine O’Neill Grace, op. cit.

Copyright © 2003 by Oyate. All rights reserved. This material may be reproduced for classroom use only.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Haas Mroue, Former CU Boulder CWP Student, Passes

Sad, sad, sad. Very sad news tonight. I just heard from Marcos at Poetry For the People, that one of my former students and mentees, Haas Mroue, died in Lebanon, where he was born, of a heart attack - at 41. Haas was an exceptionally talented writer. He wrote poetry, novels, short stories, screenplays, plays, essays and travel articles for Frommers and others. He was an incredibly lovely person - in all ways. He was well loved and will be missed tremendously. Haas was a student in my undergraduate class, and was so advanced that I moved him to my graduate poetry workshop, where he excelled, and I recruited him for the graduate program which he joined the following semester. While in my workshop, Haas wrote the powerful and moving collection of poetry, BEIRUT SEIZURES, which was published in '93.

I last saw Haas years ago in San Diego, and so I had been thinking of him heavily this last trip there last week. I wondered if he was there and would come to the reading. Yes, he was there. Haas moved to Port Townsend, Washington after San Diego, where he found a home.

It is bittersweet to think of him rediscovering his home in Lebanon after so long in exile. Haas, you will always have a home in our hearts. More later, when my eyes clear.

Haas Mroue (Haseeb Haseeb Mroueh) Obituary:

click image to enlarge

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

HAPPY! A Writers Retreat In Pacifica

YEA!!! It looks like I'm actually closing on this house in Pacifica (TOMORROW!): the perfect writers retreat (for me) among the seabirds and sounds and sights of the surf. YEA!!! I'll be living and working in San Francisco for the year or two - so, it's up for rent immediately and in the future: 2 bedroom, 2 bath with fireplace, w/d/dishwasher - PARKING - and beach access a block and a half away.


(House? What house? It's all the SEA to me.)

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187 Reasons Mexicans Can't Cross the Border - And Other Things On A Thursday

Speaking of great bookstores, I'll be here tonight. Join me at one of the greatest of the great bookstores, City Lights. My old friend and literary buzz saw, JuanFelipe Herrera will be entertaining and informing and signifying tonight, ready to gong your zen-do. I've been reading his collected work (overdue with a blurb!) and I tell you, the man's a genius - and, fortunate for us, literary.

• Juan Felipe Herrera uses poetry, prose, and performance to address the crucial human rights issues behind the immigration legislation in 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border, with special guests Johnny Flamingo & the Hot Plates and Al Quintana, City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Avenue, SF, free, 7:00 (415/362-8193,,

Last night, under these City lights, I went out to the Galeria de la Raza to hear another old lit-bud, the lit bud, Roberto Tinoco Duran. Very sparsely attended, which is too bad for all of you. Try and catch him sometime. There's no one like him. Absolutely no one. He's an original. (And, that hair! No wonder Miguel Algarin pronounced homeboy, "Gorgeous!"

And, yet another reading, last week at the bookstore in the Ferry Building. I went to hear one of my favorite fiction writers, Ehud Havazelet, who has a new book out, "Bearing the Body." Don't you just wish you had thought of that title? And best for this book. Ehud is an incredible writer. I love teaching him and everytime I buy his short story collection, "What Is It Then Between Us?" I always lose it as I lend it right out to students to read immediately. One can learn SO MUCH by reading a truly gifted writer. I loved going through that book and just reading the first and last lines of every story. The guy is such an imagist. Yes, I'll say it, a poet. Good Jewish/Isreali American lit. This story is one that needs breaking silence and telling again and again. Or, just read the book over and over again. I'm still feeling that fuzzy dream state a good (but disturbing) novel will put you into. That seamless timespace of the fictive state, as I call it. Weird. I've been in a weird mood, since. As he's such a great (yes) poet, he can create such characters that stay in your head and heart. I'm glad I went. Gladder that I bought the book.

Buy all these books - and more.

Now, back to typing. Mid-NaNoWriMo, Write A Novel In A Month month. I've been hanging at the Radio Havana cafe and writing - but, don't tell, it's a secret. They have, like, 5 tables in there. But great place to write. Great music: not too loud or dumb or weaving into your consciousness telling its own story. And GREAT stuff and goofy art all over the walls to look at while trying to get your characters to talk back to you. Always interesting conversations around - to steal from or just act as commercials between the tv show in your head as you write. I also like that it's open late. And serves good food, great Cuban coffee, and beer. No WiFi, but that's the point, no? No distractions but the scratching on the page. (Yes, I'm writing my novel in longhand, in a funny looking lavender journal with the words: THOUGHTS written in script on the front. What better for writing about police corruption, cannery strikes, the hippie movement, US Out of Central American and snuff films, eh?)

When I'm not there, and out and about (I'm a bloody hermit) I'm at my father's old hangout, Cafe Boheme. Not a good place to write as I always know someone, so it's a good place to talk and check email (good WiFi) And it also serves good soup and salads, yerba mate tea (my staple) and homemade sangria - besides all sorts of bad goodies. Sugar will be my downfall, Sugar.

Speaking of which, I still haven't made a dent in sampling all the local restaurants within a 10 block radius. On my block alone there's a Japanese Chinese place, and food from Honduras, El Salvador, Peru, Cambodia (the BEST!), Nicaragua, Guatemala, India, Pakastan, the Yucatan (yes, it's a separate country when you think about it), Mexico, Italy, Spain, Chile, all sorts of Middle Eastern combinations, and a lot more I'm forgetting including the ancient diner with the piggy little cook and Good Frickin Chicken - Arab style. But my current favorite restaurant is the vegan, "Herbivore." My current favorite hangout. I could eat there every day. And, do. Sheesh, I never cook anymore. And that used to be so much of my life, cooking. Soon. Wanna come to my house to eat? Just pick up some pupusas on the way. Provecho!

HELP! Save the Last Feminist Bookstore In Texas

Copying this post from a woman blogger in Texas. I Love Texas, And I Love This Bookstore:
Help save the last feminist book store in Texas!

I received an email from a friend asking me to blog about this and it seems like a worthy cause.

Current Situation

BookWoman must raise $50,000 by mid-December — in addition to ongoing sales — in order to enter into a lease agreement for a new space. Otherwise, the store will close.

Long-term, BookWoman needs a sustainability plan. We've got a plan in the works, but there will be nothing to sustain if we don't solve this short-term crisis.

We are a powerful community of strong women and their allies who know how to get things done. Everyone must participate according to our ability. Donate. Raise money. Buy your holiday gifts at BookWoman. Attend one of our fabulous events. Host an event in your home.

From the website

Why BookWoman Matters

BookWoman is one of 12 remaining independent women's bookstores in the country — and the only one in Texas. Independent bookstores provide a venue for small presses and alternative viewpoints, in a publishing environment increasingly ruled by corporate conglomerates.

BookWoman is also a vital center for community and social activism. At BookWoman you can:

· Shop for your thirteen-year old niece and your grandmother.

· Discuss The Vagina Monologues and Eat Pray Love.

· Listen to Gretchen Phillips or Sharon Bridgforth.

· Meet emerging artists and engage with new ideas.

· Take home a signed copy of Lorna Dee Cervantes' latest book of poems. (!!!)

· Be yourself in a safe, nonjudging space.
To shop at bookwoman, click here or for the lucky Austinites:

918 W. 12th St. (12th & Lamar)
Austin, TX 78703
Tel: 512-472-2785

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Robert Hass Wins National Book Award!

YEA! My poetry guru (seriously) has just won the National Book Award for a book of poetry that names names. YEA!

And, Denis Johnson wins for fiction and Sherman Alexie won for a young adult novel.

Yep. All's well tonight in the literary world.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lorna Dee's Poem for the Victims of Fires in San Diego, And Some Things On Sunday

I had a great reading and experience in San Diego thursday night - a trip that was all too brief, on purpose, as it gives me a reason to come back soon now that I'm a "Californian" again. And I came with a heavy heart, having been one who has had the experience of cleaning and salvaging after fire. So I wrote this poem for those experiencing the fires, some of which may still be burning - and now, a healing rain.

It was a great honor to be the "Laurie Okuma Memorial Speaker" - representing under-represented women writers on the San Diego State University campus in memory of a wonderful writer and literary scholar. Her husband, Michael Okuma and his sister were there. The room was full and it was very refreshing to see so many talented young Latinas and "people of experience" there. The questions afterwards, were also quite good. It was a really great evening. I hope to come back, especially to interact with the Creative Writing students. I was impressed with the ones I met.

It was also great to reconnect - however too briefly - with a woman, a "scholarship girl", Lizz Huerta, from my workshop in Isla Mujeres. It was great to see her and know she's working on a novel and still writing poetry. She's also a good union carpenter. Another Isla Mujeres, Taller Ixchel "scholarship girl" is Claudia Martinez of Juarez/El Paso and now residing in Chicago. Claudia has a new young adult novel entitled "The Smell of Old Lady Perfume" from Cinco Puntos Press that's bound to be good. I have the manuscript now. But the reason I think of these women, all the attendees of the Taller Ixchel workshops: Diana Delgado, Aida Salazar, Lisa Castellanos, just to name a few "scholarship girls" is that I feel the relationship extends beyond just that week in Mexico. And it is so good to see the fruits of those sown seeds in the these new books from these women. It's very exciting.

Ha! But maybe not nearly as exciting as the report of my most rapt fan in San Diego, this little chihuahua in a lavender suit who sat still and had his eyes on me the entire time as if he were interested in every word of every poem. Odd, this until now undiscovered talent to mesmerize tiny dogs.

I started off the reading with this poem (which may be still in-progress):

Fire On the Mount
Poem For the Fires of San Diego

Catastrophe floating thick in the air,
the heat sucked day, a living night
mare, scorched horses on the ridge
rigid with fear. An escapable ember,
one's own life, as if there were an end to this
world -- world without end. The city
in flames, the city on shut-down.
Even the birds, silent. A new world,
a new red dawn. The generations
brought closer to home -- a global warming.


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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Lorna Dee in Ottawa Virtually and in San Diego Actually

Hey! I'm featured in the arts section of the Ottaway Valley today and on their website; or, rather, my poem from DRIVE: The First Quartet in Book Three: PLAY, "Ave Maria" is reprinted and a link to my video from my reading of it at the Dodge Poetry Festival for Bill Moyers's documentaryn is featured on the page. (Don't click this link if I am dating you or about to date you, as it's not very flattering.) ;-)

The poem is a "Seven Minute" poem that came out of some workshops with the Xicana/o Writers Group in Denver. Unfortunately, it is a true and truly sad story about a promising young Chicana writer in one of the alternative high schools where I was presenting workshops. I never met her, but felt her story as the story was told to me. I wanted to honor her in that brief flash of time. The poem is unedited, written in about 5 minutes. I consider it a work of Spirit.

And, if you are in the San Diego area and want to take a break from it all, I'll be reading/performing as the Laurie Okuma Memorial speaker tomorrow on November 8 at 7:00 p.m. in Room LA2203 in the library at San Diego State University. Come and say, "Hey!"

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We Support the Writers Guild of America!

We support the strike by the Writers Guild of America. Writers are asking a mere 3 - 5 cents on every dvd sold. 5 cents! Our movies and shows are only as good as its writers. Support the workers of the world! Support writers!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Into the Ashes: Lorna Dee Cervantes Featured Poet at San Diego State Nov. 8

I'm hoping to see all my friends and not-friends-yet next week in San Diego. My heart goes out to all those who lost property, memories, landscape, and especially, life. All is precious everywhere. We'll see if any poems come to the surface in the time before the reading - you never know. I've had my own heart in the ash in the past.

I'll be the featured reader in the Poetry Serries, Thursday, November 8th, 2007 (next week) at 7pm, at SDSU's library, Room 2207. Hope to see you all there!

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

NaNoWriMo - Again! Write A Novel In A Month

A procrastinators Ball - NaNoWriMo - Join Us!
National Novel Writing Month Participant A novel in November -- A novel idea. Register now - Mine's called Perfect Partners.

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