Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Poet as Visionary

Image Provided by the South Broadway Cultural Center

“We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists
of a larger reality.” - Ursula K. Le Guin

Ever since I came across this quote from Le Guin I’ve been obsessed with visionaries. And because April is poetry month I'm particularly focused on visionary poets and what makes a one a visionary.  In searching the internet I found all kinds of visionaries: painters, writers, leaders, activists, CEO’s, even politicians.  The most common characteristic that they share is an ability to see the future, or a different future than most. And not necessarily in a woo-woo kind of way. They just dream about how things could be, like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Oglala Lakota medicine man, Black Elk.

Quotes about Visionaries

A visionary is one who can find his way by moonlight, and see the dawn 
before the rest of the world. — Oscar Wilde 

If you have the same ideas as everybody else but have them one week earlier than everyone else then you will be hailed as a visionary. But if you have them five years earlier you will be named a lunatic. — Barry Jones, Entrepreneur

Like the poet William Blake, my anger is visionary anger. It gives direction
 to my work. —  Adrienne Rich

Poets, as I hear them, speak out honestly from the intensity and clarity of their own vision—magicians, shamans, healers, seers, prophets, alchemist. — Kenneth Lincoln

Visionary Poems 

"The Visionaryby Emily Dickinson

Recorded tribute to Frank Lima: City Lights podcast

"I Am Waiting" by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

 If you've never heard "Howl" read aloud by Allen Ginsberg, you can listen to it now. Or read  Howl: a Graphic Novel.

Books by Visionary Poets

I’ve culled the library’s catalog to highlight a few visionary poets who through the alchemy and language and conviction have formed their own larger reality. 

The Complete Collected Poems by Maya Angelou  Angelou is a true visionary writer and performer who changed the landscape of the both the literary, political, and cultural world. 

The Collected Poems of Audrey Lorde.  Lorde has been called a "black feminist visionary and 'mytho-poet'."
Incidents of Travel in Poetry by Latino poet and visionary, Frank Lima

A Map to the Next World by Joy Harjo whose “visionary justice-seeking art transforms personal and collective bitterness to beauty, fragmentation to wholeness, and trauma to healing.”

Words Are My Matter by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Book CoverBook Cover

Poetry Events in April 

Poetry Open Mic: The Poet as Visionary 

Celebrate poetry month by reading your own visionary poetry with special guest host, Mary Oishi, Albuquerque poet, visionary, activist, and KUNM Radio personality. At South Broadway Library, Friday, April 14, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. (The event will be held in the cultural center auditorium, down the hall from the library.)

Oishi will emcee the open mic and read from her book, Spirit birds they told me

In Depth Poetry Discussion Group

Join Lynn Mallory for a discussion of the life and poetry of Adrienne Rich. Discuss how Rich's groundbreaking 1970's feminist poetry guides contemporary readers to explore the ways that culture and history shape our views of ourselves. The poem to be discussed is Transcendental Etude. The title can be found online. The In Depth Poetry Discussion group meets quarterly on the 4th of the month. North Valley Library, Tuesday, April 25, 12:30 - 2 p.m.

Poem in Your Pocket Day!

A drop-in event at Cherry Hills Library. Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day! Artistically illustrate or simply copy a favorite poem to carry and share in the spirit of the day. Or, contribute to our Poem in Your Pocket display  just by writing down your favorite poem! Thursday, April 27, noon - 5p.m.

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