Writer’s Quote Wednesday 2015

I loved and embraced the poetry, books and quotes of African-American authors during the 70s.  But, the busyness of making a living as opposed to working toward living life to its fullest took me away from many of these gifted wordsmith’s until I found Writer’s Quote Wednesday 2015 hosted by Silver Threading.

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But, I never abandoned Alice Walker whose words ground and support when the mind, body and spirit is weak.

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Birthdate – February 9, 1944

Women’s Rights Activist/Author/Civil Rights Activist is Walker’s self-defined occupation.  She has received many awards and recognitions for her:

  • Novels and Short Stories
  • Poetry
  • Non-Fiction Books
  • Essays

Favorite Book

In 1983, Walker won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for “The Color Purple.”  Three years later the story hit the movie screen and received eleven academy award nominations.

On December 1, 2005, the “Color of Purple” opened on Broadway.  Two years later Hubby, the children, grands and I went to New York City to see the production and celebrate my 65th as well as the eldest granddaughter’s 16th birthday.

Favorite Poem

Walker’s poem “For My People,” has been my “go to” when, I felt, unfairly judged, treated and/or demonized because of skin color.

A long poem addressing a lot, speaking to many, but I will only share three of my favorite passages.

“For my people everywhere singing their slave songs repeatedly, their dirges and their ditties and their blues and jubilees, saying their prayers nightly to an unknown God, bending their knees humbly to an unseen power.”

“For the cramped bewildered years we went to school to learn to know the reasons why and the answers to and the people who and the places where and the days when, in memory of the bitter hours when we discovered we were black and poor and small and different and nobody wondered and nobody understood.”

“For my people standing staring trying to fashion a better way from confusion, from hypocrisy and misunderstanding, trying to fashion a world that will hold all the people all the faces all the Adams and Eves and their countless generations; Let a new earth rise.  Let another world be born. Let a peace be written in the sky.  Let a people loving freedom come to growth.  Let a generation full of courage issue forth. Let freedom be the pulsing in our spirits and our blood.  Let the martial songs be written; let the dirges disappear. Let a race of men now rise and take control!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spread the Love Challenge

Thank you, Rebirth of Lisa, for the invite to take part in the Spread the Love Challenge.

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The rules are:

  • Write 10 four-word sentences about love.
  • Share your favorite poem filled with love.
  • Nominate 10 more bloggers to spread more love.

My Ten Four-Word Love Sentences

  1. Love uplifts the spirit.
  2. Love begins and ends.
  3. Love supports and protects.
  4. Love heals the heart.
  5. Love brings you together.
  6. Love your children unconditionally.
  7. Love yourself before others.
  8. Love will hurt sometimes.
  9. Love leaves and returns.
  10. Love cherished is forever.

My Favorite Love Poem

“You and I are the best team of all.  You are my best friend and the love of my life, my heart, my soul, the one I want to be with each and everyday.  You are the one I want to cheer me on through my life.  Your arms are the ones I want to comfort and support me.  I love how when you and I work together we can do anything. (Karen Rostyla)

This is not my favorite poem, but these are the words I needed to express today.  Because, tomorrow, I face a biopsy exam and If it shows a breast cancer recurrence; I need the team member who was by my side seven years ago as I went through a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation.   While I refuse to succumb to fear, I am thankful that Hubby will be at my side every step of the way.   I know that “together we can get through anything” because that’s the way its been for us these last fifty-five years.

Now back to the “Spread the Love Challenge.

My Ten Nominees are:

  1. Living, Learning and Letting Go
  2. Second Half Woman
  3. A Life Less Physical
  4. Our Rumbling Ocean
  5. Imanikingblog
  6. My Eyes Are Up Here
  7. Sincerely Jess
  8. Pearls Before Swine
  9. Understanding Dee
  10. Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

Writer’s Quote Wednesday 2015

Thank you to Silver Threading for hosting this event.

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I selected Langston Hughes for this week’s writer’s quote:

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Born on February 1, 1902, Hughes first poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” published in 1921; and, his last poem, “Panther and the Lash,” posthumously published in 1967.

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2002 – The United States Postal Service Added the Image of Langston Hughes to its Black Heritage Series of Postage Stamps

For over four decades, Hughes’ portrayed the life of Blacks in America through:

  • Poetry
  • Novels
  • Short Stories,
  • Non-Fiction Books
  • Plays
  • Children’s Books

One of my favorite poems is “I Dream A World.”

I dream a world where man

No other man will scorn,

Where love will bless the earth

And peace its paths adorn

I dream a world where all

Will know sweet freedom’s way,

Where greed no longer saps the soul

Nor avarice blights our day.

A world I dream where black or white,

Whatever race you be,

Will share the bounties of the earth

And every man is free

Where wretchedness will hang its head

And joy, like a pearl,

Attends the needs of all mankind

Of such I dream, my world.

I continue to dream that one day, despite our gender, ethnic, religious and cultural differences, we all will live together in peace, joy and happiness.

Writer’s Quote Wednesday 2015

Thank you to Silver Threading for hosting this weekly event.

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My  Writer’s Quote this week is one by Gwendolyn Brooke:

 “What I’m fighting for now in my work … for an expression relevant to all manner of blacks, poems I could take into a tavern, into the streets, into the halls of a housing project.”

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The first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1950, Brooke published her first book of poetry in 1945.

Her awards and recognitions are many including a 1962 invitation from President John F. Kennedy to read at a poetry festival being held at the Library of Congress.

Though ten years younger and we never met; I grew up in Chicago, we lived in the same neighborhood, and we attended the same school (Englewood).

Yet, I didn’t connect with this distinguished, gifted and talented writer until 1970 as a college freshman.

Sadly, in the 1950s, the Chicago Public School System did not include the literary works of  Gwendolyn Brooke in their curriculum.  At least, on the South Side of Chicago where I grew up.

Gwendolyn Brooke died on December 3, 2000 at the age of 83.  The gift of her poetic words remain for us to share and reflect upon for generations to come.

 

Writer’s Quote – Wednesday 2015

A special thank you to Silver Threading for the invite to this weekly blog event.

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A quote by Nikki Giovanni is my choice for Writer’s Quote this week.

“There is always something to do.  There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well.  And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call a friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.”

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Ms. Giovanni, a renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist and educator, has shared her gift of the written word with followers throughout the world for more than thirty years.  

“Black Feeling Black Talk,” was her first book of poetry published in 1968; and, shortly after its publication, she was given the name, “Princess of Black Poetry.

Three decades of publications and lectures earned her the title, “National Treasure;” and, Oprah Winfrey selected her as one of the twenty-five “Living Legends.”

Nikki Giovanni’s Bio at:

http://www.inspirational-black-literature.com/nikki-giovanni.html

Writer’s Quote Wednesday 2015

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My choice for Writer’s Quote this week is Phillis Wheatley.

An African-American Literature class I took back in the early 1970s introduced me to Phillis Wheatley, the first African-American to write a book of poetry, “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral,” published on September 1, 1773.

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The poem that generated the most discussion in the class was Phillis Wheatley’s,One Being Brought from Africa to America”:

“TWAS mercy brought me from my Pagan land, Taught my benighted soul to understand. That there’s a God, that there’s a Savior too:  Some view our sable race with scornful eye, ‘Their color is a diabolic die.”  Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain, May be refined, and join the angelic train.”   

Most of the members in class voiced concern about statements like “mercy brought me from my Pagan land”, “benighted” and “Negroes, black as Cain.”

Casting a negative light on Africa and its people while giving thanks to those who captured and enslaved caused my former classmates to negatively review the poem.

But, I argued that this was a young woman captured and brought to this country as a slave, when she was 7-years-old.  She lived in the home of her slave owner with his wife and children until her marriage in 1778. Her privileged life was no comparison to the brutality suffered by most slaves.

Given this, I understood the rejection of an unknown people and country; and the acceptance of her known family and culture.

She was grateful to her rescuers, providers, protectors and educators and expressed it in this poem, “TWAS mercy brought me from my Pagan land.

Phillis Wheatley died in 1778, at the young age of 31.

 For more information on Phillis Wheatley visit:

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/phillis-wheatley

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