So excited to be the featured poet for the next installment of “All the Feminist Poets” on Weird Sister. I was interviewed by fellow poet and editor of Weird Sister, Marisa Crawford. Check it out and let me know what you think!
Check out this interview I did with a great children’s book author/illustrator Don Tate. We talked about his new book out this fall, “The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton Poet,” who was the first African American poet to be published in the South–while he was still a slave! Thanks to author/poet E. Kristin Anderson for making this possible! Click here for the interview.
Thank you to Patricia Spears Jones for inviting me to be part of the WORDS Sunday literary series at Calabar Imports Bed Stuy PopUp. It’s an honor, truly. I don’t do readings much, so of course I’m nervous but it’ll be so nice to read in my old neighborhood. The series begins this Sunday, March 22 from 3 to 5 p.m. with poets Terence Degnan and Soraya Shalforoosh. It’s free!
Missing Girls, Michelle Obama, and stolen children. Yes, that’s the stuff I like to write about. These poems offer a preview of my chapbook, Thick-Skinned Sugar. Please check out the poems, just up at Radius, an online literary journal. If you want to, please leave a reply on the page. Thanks!
And we have lift off! The pre-sale for my first chapbook, Thick-Skinned Sugar, published by Finishing Line Press, begins November 11th and runs through January 9th. I’ll be sure to share the link to purchase as soon as I have it. *Please by my book, please!*
Here’s a poem from the chapbook. I was going to share the link to the online journal it was originally published in, but alas, that journal has closed its doors. Prayer for My Fiancé before His Bachelor Party is a poem I wrote towards the end of graduate school right before I got married. It was published on Splinter in 2009 (I think). That fiancé has been my husband for five years now! Unfortunately if I was writing this poem today, there’d be more/other examples besides Sean Bell and Amadou Diallou.
I really dug Splinter Generation, it was “a place by and for people born between 1973 and 1993.” I hope it comes back! Or at least they bring the archives back, there was some good and important writing there, would be a shame to lose the collective work from the interwebs forever. Hey, Splinter, are you listening?
Prayer for My Fiancé before His Bachelor Party
Our Father, who art in Heaven,
However he be: drunk, sober, slipping strippers dollar bills, belligerent with a large group of men who look like him, I pray the Lord his soul to keep.
Deliver him from the shape-shifting gene that lies in all Black men. Let him remain bald, dark, and 6’ 3”. Lead him not toward the ability to stretch taller, shrink shorter, glamour his skin lighter, or insta-grow a full head of dreads.
Lord, I pray that his soap opera evil twin does no wrong tonight.
Please keep him from being Belled, from being felled by police guns moving faster than axes to chop down dark and scary forests and make newspapers of him.
And lead him not to be Dialloed, black wallet in his back pocket is not made of morph-leather; it does not become a gun. Though he forms make-believe guns with his pointer finger and thumb, please shine a little light on the police so that they see his hands, just hands.
O Lord, save him from brown-skinned concrete cannibals, shape shifters who, at night, blend with the cement they stand on, harden like stone. Save him from their thirst for their own kind.
This Lord I seek: Please let him fit the description of a president and have a police escort home so that we can dwell in our home all the days of our life together.
© LaToya Jordan
Why yes, I do have a story to tell!
I’m in this class. I haven’t taken one in ages. It wasn’t really in the budget but I made it work because classes and workshops are great motivators for me. I hadn’t taken one since 2011!
It’s pretty awesome being in a workshop again. I’m learning a lot, I like the teacher, I like the other people in the class. Fiction (outside of the soap operas I wrote when I was a kid) is kind of scary.Though being in a fiction workshop is new to me. Writing a novel seems like such a daunting task, but I’ve been taking it scene by scene. I hope to have three chapters I like by the end of this workshop. I already had three chapters, I just didn’t like them 🙂 So far I’ve had really great feedback on my first chapter. Some of it was conflicting but I took the things that everyone seemed to agree on and things that spoke to me and will use those comments to revise.
Oh, and there’s a reading in November. That’s the scariest thing about this whole shebang.
It’s Labor Day. I decided to participate in the “For Ferguson and AllsWhere: A Virtual Exhibition” taking place today. Artists of all types are supposed to “unite against police brutality and cultures of violence in an online exhibition.”
Check out the Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/artistsforferguson This page is also affiliated with Artists Against Police Brutality/Cultures of Violence, also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/artistsagainstbrutality.
Here’s the poem I wrote yesterday (and did some more work on this morning! Shout out to my husband for his suggestions.) There’s so much more I want to say. I feel like this may end up being the first in a series.
Rules for My Future Son Should I Have One
1. Play dead when you see a police officer. They do not like to eat dead prey. Fall down on the ground faster than light. Fall down on the ground in slow motion. Always be prepared to catch a bullet with your teeth.
2. Do not put your hands up. Do not put your hands down. Do not move your hands. Do not hold a wallet in your hands. Do not have brown hands.
3. Do not write rap lyrics; they are a suicide note. Do not have a rap sheet; this is a death warrant.
4. Know that if alcohol, drugs, and/or guns appear in your photos, I have created an app that will cause your phone to self destruct one minute after the photos are taken. These photos will not be used against you in a court of law. These photos will not be used against you in the court of public opinion.
5. Do not wear a hoodie is a body bag is an urn is probable cause. Do not hang your pants below your waist; this is police code for your ass is a moving target.
5a. Wear clean underwear just in case you get into a car accident. If you are involved in an accident, need help, and no one is around, do not go to the nearest home for help. Do not call 911. Please check the small black bag in your glove compartment. In it I have gathered twigs, tinder, and a box of matches. Please send a smoke signal.
6. I can’t breathe. I don’t have a gun. You shot me. I do not want to know your last words because you are not allowed to say last words before I say mine. But I will say I love you every time you leave me. I will whisper I love you in your ear all the nights you sleep in my home so that if I am not the one to cradle you in your final moments, if instead you are cradled by hot asphalt as your body roasts in the sun, you will have left this Earth still hearing echoes of me I love you.
7. If all else fails and you can’t remember the previous rules: lay down on the ground and slide your body against concrete until you shed brown skin. When you were in my belly I stitched an emergency second skin, fair and light, without the weight of blackness. Try on your freedom, baby boy.
© 2014 LaToya Jordan
My second reading of the summer!
Please come join me at a reading and book signing to celebrate Toni Ann Johnson‘s debut novel, Remedy for a Broken Angel. In addition to poetry from me, and a wonderful reading from Toni Ann, jazz pianist Renato Buchert, and journalist and author Richard Torres will host a Q & A. There will also be a free raffle to win Charles Mingus CDs, red wine, and treats. It’s free!
Saturday, August 2, 2014
6:00pm – 8:00pm
La Casa Azul Bookstore
143 E 103rd St, New York, New York 10029
See the Facebook event posting for more information: http://www.facebook.com/events/259135100876780/?ref=br_tf
A librarian from the Utica Public Library put me back in touch with a piece of my past. I was a part-time editorial assistant at the Observer-Dispatch in 1998 while I was a student at Utica College. My job included writing up weddings, anniversaries, and obituaries, as well as the daily police blotter. But I also got to go out and cover local news. I got the opportunity to interview Walter Payton and even had two front-page, above-the-fold stories! My favorite story was a feature story I did where I got to spend the day with Tom and Mary, a blind and visually impaired couple. I visited with them in their home and at their workplace. And I somehow lost my one copy of this article even though I’m a pack rat.
Click the image to read the story (it’s from microfilm but still legible). I’ve also added a new page to my site! It’s a selection of other writing I’ve done over the years.