Hit a reading for the first time in weeks and at the Nuyorican no less. Cheryl Boyce Taylor was the feature so I knew that meant great hugs and even better poetry, or vice versa.
Some of Cheryl’s work went right over the crowd’s head but she still delivered all the goods especially the “dialect” poems. The best one being ‘Deh Accuse Meh’ which directly addresses the tenuous line drawn by (ironically enough) native Caribbean speakers when Cheryl chooses to write poems in Trini dialect.
I once asked Cheryl to do ‘Mango Pretty’ at a reading, she told me that her dialect poems require some extra energy and she wasn’t quite feeling it that night. Now I understand what she means. It must be rough to have your core audience question the language you choose to employ in your poetry even when said language is broadening the poetic experience across the board.
They say that a good number of languages, specifically native dialects of major(?) languages, silently die every year. An ancestor mumbles some strange speak that only the little children in the house understand and you wonder if its just baby talk or a verb for unrequited love.
Miguel Algarín was also in the house and I didn’t have to introduce myself for the fifth time to the man. We makin’ progress!
On the TO DO LIST for this month: Read Cheryl’s new book, Convincing the Body.