On this spoken-word recording, Maya Angelou, Guy Johnson, and Janice Mirikitani recite poetry and speak about youth, time, and impact.
Guy Johnson describes how this event came to be: "My mother asked me what I wanted for my birthday, so I said I wanted to read poetry with her . . . It seemed to me that if I wanted to celebrate my birthday as a literate and literary person, what better and more august group could I share it with than Janice Mirikitani and my mother . . . " This cassette is a recording of that poetry reading given on September 9, 1995, at the Calvin Simmons Theater in Oakland, California, to benefit Project Open Hand and the National Poetry Association.
On the recording, Dr. Angelou speaks about the importance of poetry to young people. "I really think it's evident that if you start young with a person and really live the poetry with him or her that people grow up with some, what my grandmother used to call, starch in their backbones. They find they can walk into places that -- as young black men and black women, Asian men and women, Spanish-speaking men and women, white American men and women -- they learn that 'Oh, I see I am a human being, so nothing human can be alien to me.' "
The cassette is also available at Book Passage in Corte Madera, California, and at A Clean, Well-Lighted Place for Books in San Francisco, California.
A portion of the proceeds from sales of this recording benefit the Right to Rock Network.
- Maya Angelou:
- Dr. Angelou's web page gives more details about her work, biography, and other links on the Web.
- Guy Johnson:
- Biographical information about Guy Johnson is on its way.
- Janice Mirikitani:
- Ms. Mirikitani -- poet, activist and choreographer -- is the Executive Director of Programs at Glide Church/Urban Center and President of the Glide Foundation, San Francisco, California. At Glide, she has developed programs arising from her vision of a multiracial, multicultural, and multiservice institution in San Francisco which enacts gender and cultural sensitivity and empowerment. She has been the Director of Programs at Glide since 1969. She directs 35 programs which include extensive outreach and service to the poor and homeless of San Francisco, making Glide Church a comprehensive provider of human services. Her sensitivity and experience with program development has helped create a Glide "culture" where a unique environment encourages people to change their lives and be uplifted.
Ms. Mirikitani, a third generation Japanese American, is a published poet and author who continues to receive critical acclaim for her publications. These publications of her writings include We the Dangerous (new and selected poems, Virago Press, 1995), Shedding Silence (poetry and prose, Celestial Arts Publishing, 1987), and Awake in the River (poetry and prose, Isthmus Press, 1978, 1982, 1984). A founding member of Third World Communications, she has organized artists, writers, musicians, and poets to publish and create platforms for Third World voices. The anthologies and publications she has edited include Aion Magazine (1971-72), Third World Women (Third World Communications, 1973), Time to Greez! (Third World Communications and Glide Publications, 1975), Ayumi (Japanese American Anthology Committee, 1981), Making Waves (co-editor, Asian Women United, 1988), I Have Something to Say About This Big Trouble: Children of the Tenderloin Speak Out (Glide World Press, 1989), and Watch Out, We're Talking: Speaking About Incest and Abuse (Glide World Press, 1993).
Among the awards given to Ms. Mirikitani are the 1996 Distinguished Community Service Award from the Anti-Defamation League, the 1988 Woman of the Year Award for the 17th Assembly District from the California State Assembly, the 1988 UCSF Chancellor's Medal of Honor, and the 1985 Woman of Words Award from The Women's Foundation. She has choreographed and produced/directed over 35 dance productions for the Glide Dance Ensemble and served as a guest choreographer for the Asian American Dance Collective. Ms. Mirikitani received a teaching credential from the University of California at Berkeley (1963) and a B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles (1962).