It was November 19, and LA’s West Side was wrapped in a breeze uncharacteristic of a California night, but was a welcome interruption to the heatwaves the state is known for. The historic Odyssey Theater Ensemble, home of some of the city’s most multi-cultural plays and productions, housed the Sippin’ Poetry Slam Food Drive, hosted by the multi-hyphenated talent, poet, actor, and artist combo, Ahkei “KeiRock” Togun.Continue reading “Poetry, Community, and Deliverance: How KeiRock is Impacting Spoken Word”
Palm trees wrapped around the streets of Beverly Hills, and gorgeous golden rope lights wrapped around them, on the way to the exclusive William Morris Endeavour Screening Room, located near the heart of one of California’s most famous zip-codes.Continue reading “Mental Health Awareness Takes Center Stage at Get Lit’s ‘Our Worlds Collide’ Screening”
After a record breaking cold spell across usually-sunny California, the customary 80-degree weather had begun to pick up again in mid April; as the sun set over South Broadway’s historic Ace Hotel Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles, the golden views and massive crowds were a fitting way to welcome in students, poets, writers and songwriters from far and wide to the annual 2023 Classic Slam Competition Finals.Continue reading “Get Lit Closes Out Poetry Month with Annual Classic Slam Competition Finals”
Southern Fried Asian is back and so is one of our previous guests. Keith welcomes back Greg Pak — whose moving new autobiographical project I Belong to You / Motherland is being turned into a choral performance in Austin — to discuss belonging and loss and share memories of his mother and childhood in Texas.Continue reading “Southern Fried Asian: Greg Pak Returns”
Because I cannot wait for Kate —
Apple kindly drops Dickinson Season 3 —
The final part of Emily Dickinson/Hailee Steinfeld’s quest for Self —
Because there are so many Marvel movies, and of each it’s worth the trouble to ask, what are we fighting about, REALLY? IRON MANLebowski’s armorproves men in suits aren’t readyfor clean energy. INCREDIBLE HULKHulk need bigger Hulkto fight: literal toxicmasculinity. … Continue reading Every MCU Threat To Humanity In Haiku Form
In our final live edition of Hard NOC Life from the NOC Reading Lounge at CTRL+ALT — the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s pop-up culture lab in the former Pear River Mart location in SoHo, award-winning poet Bryan Thao Worra discusses the literature of the Laotian diaspora and explains why the Asian American literay canon needs more speculative fiction.
A poem for Bruce we repost on the anniversaries of his birth and of his death.Continue reading “NOC Poetry: For Bruce, 11/27/40 – 7/20/73”
We are all saddened by the loss of Maya Angelou, who has passed away at the age of 86. Upon hearing about Angelou’s passing, I immediately thought about Life Doesn’t Frighten Me, a book published in the mid-1990s that paired her poetry with the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat.
I was caught making ice sculptures while wearing my X-Uniform in 5 Pointz, Queens, and someone asked why I would risk exposure.
I wear my X-Jacket when outside of the Academy to empower myself, and to remember that being mutant is a global phenomenon — our gifts, largely and widely, will go unrecognized as our existence is fundamentally iconoclastic in an otherwise conformist world.
I especially wanted to visit the 5 Pointz Academy after having been painted over white.
The world lost a titan of the Black Arts Movement when the poet Amiri Baraka passed away today in Newark, New Jersey after several weeks of hospitalization. Baraka was 79 years old.
"Who has ever stopped to think of the divinity of Lamont Cranston?" –I wonder whether Baraka was the first poet to reference superheroes?
— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) January 9, 2014
The poem Ahmed was referring to, “In Memory of Radio,” comes from Baraka’s first collection of poetry, Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note, which has been reprinted below. In it, Baraka — then still known as Leroi Jones — uses The Shadow to bookend the poem:
I am a video game player. There is no denying that. But I am also a father. So finding balance between family obligations and video games can be daunting at times. So I allow myself to buy one video game — at full retail price — a year. Well one year, I decided that the game I wanted was Street Fighter IV. I’ve been a big SF fan since SFII. My cousins and I would play that game to death in my uncle’s living room to the point that we were banished from the T.V.
I was extremely surprised that there was a character of Mexican heritage in the game, so that was another incentive for purchasing it. When I chose El Fuerte as my character, I was surprised that, well, he was shorter then Blanka, his quest is to find good recipes, really has no projectile moves, and, let’s be real, resembles a rejected understudy to Rey Mysterio Jr.
We wrote it because we are both unabashed nerds. And we are also both Black feminist poets, professors and activist/organizers. As many folks reading this blog know, this mix can cause a bigger explosion than a warp core breach in the matter/anti-matter containment unit on the Starship Enterprise. Often there are no images of anyone who looks like us in comics or in sci-fi, and those folks who do are not authentic representations, but are often more ideas of what white male writers think Black women are.
The flip side of the discussion of opening up the speculative fiction genres to more writers of color telling stories about characters of color is the phenomenon of white writers employing characters of color. Such works are not automatically or inherently problematic when done sensitively and skillfully; indeed, the diversification of the worlds of white creators to reflect the real diversity of our own is necessary. Speculative fiction abounds with examples both bad, like the racial allegories of Tolkien‘s Middle Earth, and good, like Le Guin’s Earthsea series, Stephenson’s Snow Crash, or Gaiman’s Anansi Boys.
Last year, my friend and mentor, the poet Tim Seibles, was a finalist for a National Book Award in poetry for the book Fast Animal.
In the book, Tim writes a series of poems from the perspective of Blade, the Marvel Comics vampire hunter made famous by a series of movies starring Wesley Snipes.
For Lit Week, I asked Tim if we could publish one of the “Blade” poems here on The Nerds of Color. After the jump, you’ll find the first poem in the book’s series of five. The other poems are titled “Blade, Historical,” “Blade, Unplugged,” “Blade, Unsympathetic,” and “Blade, Epiphany.” So, if you haven’t already, go out and get a copy of Fast Animal right now — and hell, all of Tim’s other books of poetry. You won’t be sorry.
Years ago, before we knew what shape Secret Identities was going to take, I asked my friend and former professor, the poet Luisa Igloria, to submit a poem about Asian Americans and superheroes. She sent me this beautiful persona poem from the point of view of Dolly Arro, the nurse who cared for Christopher Reeve for so many years until he died in 2004.
Though we ended up not using it in Secret Identities, Luisa eventually published the poem in the online literary magazine SWEET in 2008. I’ve asked Luisa if we could reprint her poem here on The Nerds of Color for Lit Week. The poem is after the jump, and Luisa’s new book, The Saints of Streets, is available now.
I wrote this poem as a kind of eulogy for Miss Butler. I took her death hard, especially as we were beginning to correspond right before she passed.Continue reading “NOC Poetry: “For Octavia””