Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Dawn broke with the strong scent of freshly cut pages in the air Saturday, so I headed off for the 9th annual Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival.

I'm not entirely sure what this guy's connection to Santa Barbara is, but there he was.

Al Young, California's current Poet Laureate, was also on hand. This was the first time we've seen each other since the American Literature Association in May of 2006.

I spent most of the time when I wasn't on stage out at the poets' table, visiting with local poet and activist Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, who has a new CD of her poetry, BLACK STREETS. Here she is with Catherine Daly, who was displaying her beautiful book PAPER CRAFT.

Catherine Daly organized the SERIOUS PLAY panel that I read on. Here she is with our fellow poets Yunte Huang and Michelle Detorie.

Professor Luis Leal was celebrating his 100th birthday that day. I hope I can spend my 100th birthday at a book fair. Leal has also endowed an annual book award. This year's winner was Alejandro Morales, author of THE RAG DOLL PLAGUES. It was heartening to see a long line of young students waiting to speak with him and to collect autographs on their copies of his novel.

This was also my first opportunity to hear a reading by Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, who I've known for years, and whose anthology THE FORBIDDEN STITCH I have often used in my courses.


Mom said...

hello ...

i doubt very much that you remember any of this but i did my undergraduate degree at penn state. i worked with bruce weigl and john balaban in writing and jim rambeau in literature. i never worked with you but we bumped into each other in those wide halls ...

i did an m.f.a. and a lit ph.d (modernism/harlem ren.) after that ... published some books ... tenured at UMSL and am now here for my second assoc. yr at CU Boulder ... i'm using _every goodbye ain't gone_ in a 'studies in ..' course right now and just really love it. really ... i'm part of a fairly large fellowship of black poets, cave canem, and a number of my friends and colleagues praise and use the collection.

and i see al here on your page!! al gave me the best blurb on my 3rd book ... he said, 'Ruth Ellen Kocher shines and sheds visible and audible light. And to darkness and ignorance, light is still spiritual Kryptonite.' ... cool, hm? well, perhaps we'll cross paths at a poetry event sometime soon. i'm not sure whether you attend awp or not, but i go every year. i often see john there, rarely bruce, but he's had health concerns. i'm presenting a panel this year. see you, perhaps.

all best
ruth ellen kocher

Aldon Lynn Nielsen said...

But I didn't arrive in those wide halls till 2001, many years after those people had departed -- so that's why you never worked with me -- but its great to see you here -- always happy to find another poet -- I spent a year in Boulder in the late 90s when my wife was on the faculty there -- Hope you enjoy the area as much as we did --