The Hot Poets Collective : Jayne, Sabrina, JP, EJ, Cheryl, Liz & Ed (left to right!)
On April 21, 2012 I experienced an exceptional evening of poetry. I had the pleasure of attending The Hot Poets Collective’s first year anniversary and the debut and book signing of their newly published poetry anthology OF FIRE, OF IRON.
My evening began when I arrived and was greeted warmly by Cheryl Boyce-Taylor. I entered a room filled with smiling guests chatting and celebrating with food and beverage. I became a part of this community of jovial strangers and friends. Once the evening began, it did not disappoint. Each poet and poem held audience members from begining to end. Each poem was finely crafted.
We were taken on a journey of emotions. We ached when JP Howard read her haunting poem about the killing of Trayvon Martin. We laughed with Ed Toney when he read of his wedding night and his alter ego. We were moved by the starling and lovely imagery of the poems of Sabrina Hayeem-Ladani. We laughed aloud when Jayne the former librarian spoke of wanting to be the woman on the train with the tight spandex and long nails. We demanded justice for the wife murdered by her husband and mother in-law after giving birth to a daughter and joined Elizabeth in her compassion for a man who received food after not having eaten in two days. We laughed and smiled as a proud mother Cheryl Boyce-Taylor spoke of her son’s performance at BB King’s and the audience’s response.
The Hot Poets Collective is a diverse group of eight New York based poets who began writing together in April , 2011 in honor of Poetry Herstory/History Month. Bravo Hot Poets Collective, on your first anniversary and your poetry anthology OF FIRE, OF IRON. Well done!
Here are some excerpts of poems from The Hot Poets Collective anthology OF FIRE, OF IRON.
E. J. Antonio’s: GENDER APARTHEID
I want the root cellar I hide in to hum
sing me songs the elder women sang to Allah
I want sap of oak bark mixed with mother’s ashes
to sooth the wrongs you say live within my womb
Cheryl Boyce-Taylor: BB KING REVIVAL.
I watched my son imbue them
with his hip hop moonshine
they drunk holy rollers
rising up to touch him
he my boy revival preacher
his flock tin pan soldiers
who had just received the Christ
Sabrina Hayeem-Ladani poem OF LONGING AND BRIDGES
Here the sun sets so late
that I never stay up long enough
to watch its falling. Instead,
I pin wet towels fresh from the washer
to the line outside my window,
my eyes heavy-lidded, body draped over the edge
like an abuela policing the streets.
JP Howard: LOST: A GOODBYE POEM
splatter of bloodstain
your unanswered cell phone
mama’s scream and papa’s pride
sweaty scent of your school jersey
forver rewinding that morning
sweet child buried beneath memory: ours.
Elizabeth Lara : BOCA CHICA PICNIC
A man approached us, still unbent
despite his age, one deliberate step
following the next. When we offered him
our food, his face shifted.
Yes, he said, yes. I can still see
how he gripped the bowl.
how he looked at those leftovers
as if he were holding the Host,
how he crossed himself and ate.
Two days, he said, without food.
Jayne A. Pierce: ENA’S BIRTHDAY
There is no order in your absence
the patterns of your speech
echoe in my chest
the gauze bandage
Anton Nimblett: LIVING ROOMS/BROOKLYN
You were right about fathers
and sons. About grown men
and love. We’re so alike
Daddy and I. Two man-crabs with
shells that bruise easy as ripe guavas.
Daddy: former steelband flag man.
Father/son joined like waves/sand.
Ed Toney: AUNT BERNICE.
Maybe the best thing ever I recall
is the way she southern draws “hey baby”
or “come to your Aunt Bernice, Baby”
sounds like thick sap running down a maple tree
like she got, honey, molasses and
heavy sweet condensed milk held in her cheeks.
And its’ all sliding down her
warm corn-bred tongue.
She was living definition
of what, down-south use to be.
OF FIRE, OF IRON was published by the Calypso Muse Reading Series for The Hot Poets Collective and Edited by Cheryl Boyce-Taylor.
The Calypso Muse Reading Series was founded by Cheryl Boyce-Taylor in 1994. Its main goal is to present work by new and seasoned writers of all nationalities, and to create a space where Caribbean poets could nurture their work and native dialect. Since their beginning they have grown in their offerings. Calypso Muse Reading Series offer weekend retreats, group and individual writing workshops, editing, publishing, and a monthly series, The Calypso Muse House Reading Series. To purchase OF FIRE, OF IRON and to learn more about The Calypso Muse Reading Series Contact: calypsomuseNY@aol.com
©Lorraine Currelley and The Currelley Literary Journal 2012. Unauthorized duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.