Tuesday, August 9, 2011

devorah major

devorah major is one of the featured poets who will perform and read at the 2nd festival of European poetry. She will travel from San Francisco to Antwerp. She has been invited to read and perform poems from the upcoming anthology Harbors of the West and some powerful anti war poems. You can read a poignant poem about her ancestry.
I am a California born granddaughter of West Indian documented and undocumented immigrants, and Eastern-European immigrants (all documented I believe but I am not as aware of this side of my family line.) As a second generation writer I have found the universe of words, where one can create other worlds, other times, or freeze time or place as it is, to be a place of power, comfort, terror. Poetry found me first, later it was fiction and still later creative nonfiction found a way to carve a place in my writing soul. Words stuck, cut through my tongue, healed, confronted, questioned, demanded, flowed. I wrote while single, while in and out of love, as a new mother, and then as a poet in residence at a cultural center while my second child grew in my womb. I wrote through the painful dissolution of a difficult marriage and through biting poverty as a singe parent. And I still write- as woman black and proud, born in a family which has for generations struggled to make a better way , a more just world. And my writing has borne fruit. Thus far four books of poetry, two poetry chapbooks, two novels, and myriad single poems, short stories and non-fiction essays have been published.

   I have written of family, of the streets, of struggle in both poetry and prose, fiction and non-fiction. I have performed my poems on war and peace, love and survival in England and Wales, in Bosnia, in Northern and Southern Italy, and at innumerable cultural and political gatherings in the US. I have served as Poet Laureate of San Francisco 2002-2006. Poet, novelist, internationally touring performer my books include street smarts, where river meets ocean, and with more than tongue, An Open Weave and Brown Glass Windows. For over twenty years I performed and recorder with Opal Palmer Adisa as a part of the poetry jazz performance group “Daughters of Yam.” I am featured on two Daughters of yam CDs as well as four other music and poetry compilations. Completed forthcoming collections are teardrops in the mouth of the moon and treasure hunting. I write as witness and as questioner. I write as one who loves. I cobble together my living as a writer, performance poet, poet in residence in community and/or institutional settings, and part time lecturer at an art college.

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