the world, a
cultures in a large
and generous nation."
|Where you from? Ours is the New Land, the roots of our family trees criss-cross beneath continents and seas. We’re a hyphenated people, blends and shades. Monolingual on the surface, we speak varieties of English -- or should that be American? -- with tendrils in Africa, Asia, Europe. We speak our own versions of Spanish and Tagalog and Cantonese and French, praise the land in Tlingit and Cherokee, watch TV shows in Hmong and Japanese. We are from the world, a condensation of cultures in a large and generous nation. We come together in the way that a poem is created. Unaccustomed ideas intermarry, unrelated images create a new vision. All based in language, in thought made real, in the invisible connecting web of words, deep in the American grain.||
A native Crow who lives on the land where Custer made his Last Stand, HENRY REAL BIRD considers the Little and Big Horn Valleys his living room. A former rodeo cowboy, now a renowned cowboy poet, he twists language like a river, sails the river with his voice.
Author of Red Letter, founder of the One Size Fits All Movement, one of the Unbearable Beatniks of Life and leader of protests against New Yorker poetry? Editor of "The Eleventh Street Ruse" and "renowned street poet"? Talking about SPARROW, bemused and bearded Rumi of the New Age poetry scene, although he refuses to accept membership in anything.
Poet Laureate, 1993-5, RITA DOVE acknowledges the need to use all media necessary to help poetry find its way into the daily life of the American people. She won a Pulitzer for her poetry narrative, loosely based on the lives of her grandparents, Thomas and Beulah, and teaches at the University of Virginia.
Where the poem meets the rap is the natural habitat of TRACIE MORRIS. "Project Princess" is based on her experiences growing up in East New York. Well known for her improvisational performance techniques, she tours often with the band "werdz-n-muze(sic)". She is a Grand Slam Champ at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and in 1993 was crowned National Haiku Slam Champ.
LOIS-ANN YAMANAKA is a poet and fiction writer, a storyteller and literary provocateur. Born in Ho'olehua and currently living in Kahalu'u, she writes in the most pungent and original dialect of any modern poet, a blend of mainland American, island Pidgin and classic Hawaiian.
NAOMI SHIHAB NYE is a Palestinian poet born and raised in St. Louis, living in San Antonio. She is a well-respected poet, translator, and editor, with a mellifluous voice and subtle performance style. She is accompanied in her video poem by her father.
EVERTON SYLVESTER, is a founding member of the Green Card poets from Brooklyn, and many of his poems reflects on where exactly "home" is. He is currently a English teacher in the New York City School system.