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NaPoWriMo — April 26


“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.” — Benjamin Disraeli


Some of you may have attended the Poetry Jam that embellished the Saturday, April 21st  performance of Superior Donuts, a must-see production at GeVa.  Geva and Writers & Books had asked ten local writers to select one poem by one ten poets mentioned in this play by Tracy Letts and respond to it.  


Reenah Golden (reading Maya Angelou, The Lesson) and filling in for Robert Ricks reading  Dope  by Amiri Baraka)

Chandra McKenzie (reading Langston Hughes, Consider me)

Arlette Miller-Smith (reading Gwendolyn Brooks, Of DeWitt Williams on His Way to Lincoln Cemetery)

Tokeya Graham – (reading Ntozake Shange, enuf)

Grace Flores (reading Alice Walker, Be Nobody’s Darling)

Henry Ignacio Padrón-Morales (reading Nikki Giovanni, Ego Tripping(there may be a reason why)

Steve Huff (reading Lucille Clifton, The Thirty-Eighth Year)

Ralph Black (reading Yusef Komunyakaa, The Deck)



Below Vincent F.A. Golphin shares his selection by Countee Cullen and his response.


Yet Do I Marvel by  Countee Cullen, was first published in the 1925 book, Color. My assignment was to write and perform a 2012 response to the piece. You will see that I did my best to match tone, meter and rhyme. Also, you might note that they were read as a complete piece, even though I noted that they were separate poems. 



YET DO I MARVEL  — by Countee Cullen


I doubt not God is good, well meaning, kind,

And did He stoop to quibble could tell why

The little buried mole continues blind,

Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die,

Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus

Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare

If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus

To struggle up a neverending stair.

Inscrutable His ways are, and immune

To catechism by a mind too strewn

With petty cares to slightly understand

What awful brain compels His awful hand.

Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:

To make a poet black, and bid him sing!






A BLACK POET’S SONG – Vincent Golphin




The voice lifts a sepia song of praise,

captures life at angles our hue uniquely perceives,

and provokes insights many fear to raise

about a future birthed while Obama’s quest aggrieves.

Black bards croon constant, like birds in a cage

gilded, roomy and wondrous to eyes outside,

and like the feathered sirens, we expel outrage

in faith-born tales of struggle against racism’s tide.

God’s plan is not humankind’s, for that we give thanks,

and cling to Grace, Providence and Love to swell our ranks,

for the lilies in green valleys and sparrows still show

the force that carries us past trials others never know.

Yet do I marvel where I stand, and read my dreams out loud,

and look back centuries over a story that makes me proud.



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