What a day! I've been invited to participate in an exciting California Legacy Project, by Santa Clara University, which will be comprised of interviews of prominent state scholars (me?) on California authors whose works they admire-value for their investment and connection to "place." Not surprisingly, I'm going to focus on the literary legacies by several literary heavyweights interwoven deeply the California desert and the Inland Empire region. Whee! Too cool for words. This project is funded by Santa Clara U and the National Endowment for the Arts.
So....how did I get from point A to point universe? Not long ago I was a shy and uber-private mom and teacher who hiked all the time in the desert...with Tarah and maybe a friend or two and quite often singularly alone....no public life beyond....teaching at the college, and prior to that, high school...and emphatically too scared to read my poems publicly, except rarely, and in a hushed tone.
Now - ???? A desert book? Invitations like this? I'm floored, astonished, happy, and also the thread of bittersweet walk of beauty and sad lacing through the fabric of my life...breathing and humming as one...tasting so much, tasting so little, tasting it all. From Philip: a found email from months ago: "be a hologram." Too cool for intellect, to the next worlds I go. For the record, the project is inspired in part by the legacy and works of the great California poet-writer Robinson Jeffers. For more:
Also, I'm now formally connected to an amazing poetry writing collaborative-project, "Poets of Bodie," organized and overseen by the incredible Nicelle Davis who is another desert poet/writer! A group of poets and writers from throughout the west are assuming personae based on real lives of those who lived through one of California's largest mining towns from the late Gold Rush-early 20th century era; it is now one of the world's most famous ghost towns, located east of the Sierras near Mono Lake and Bridgeport, CA. I've been there and it's unreal. Well, yes, it's a ghost town, after all. It's one of Tarah's favorite places; I took her there as a little kid on one of our many extended summer travels through the state as she was growing up. Bodie Ghost Town: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=509
I'm writing from an imagined persona of Mary Winnemucca Tate, a Mono Lake Paiute-Anglo woman bent on transformational revenge and "putting into right balance" the evils perpetrated on the abundant Native American people of the region. The westward expansion of the "California Gold Rush" were a death sentence for the indigenous peoples, many tribes being eradicated quickly and entirely during this time.
Read more, if you'd like, about my persona and her poetic intentions at:
You may also read about all of the poets/writers and their goals with this project at: http://bodiepoetryproject.wordpress.com/
The results of this collaborative will be published and performed as a book in the near future. I'll keep you posted! This is so cool!