I always love getting the birthday wishes over social media and appreciate everyone who has sent me a message so far. Thank you. I never really ask for much on my birthday, especially now as I am getting older here.
But for this day of mine today, one thing I do want to ask is, hey, I got a book out and there’s a magic number I’m trying to get to as far as sales go so if you can post this link to your page or twitter it can go a long way towards helping me out. And I believe in this damn book.
If you can convince a friend to buy it, even better. If you haven’t yet and have been wanting to, now is a great time. Hoping to make 37 a dope year, so let’s kick it off right. Cuz I wanna crush this year, damnit. Lol. Love y'all.
I came back to the Bay in 2013. After a long layoff Kearny Street Workshop relaunched their annual emerging artists festival, APAture, and I took part in it. One of the first things I wanted to do when I got back was get reconnected with the APA arts scene out here. It’s where I came up as an artist and where I found a lot of support when I was first starting out. One of the things that was impressed upon me early was knowing and respecting the literary history of the area. Not only knowing the artists, but the organizations and the movements that took place here. You recognized the impact and importance an organization like Kearny Street Workshop had over here and you didn’t take it for granted.
The first writer who ever took any interest in me and offered any kind of mentorship was Jaime Jacinto and his book, Heaven is Just Another Country, was published by KSW back when they had a publishing house. It’s still one of my favorite books and holds up today, very well. For the longest time I wanted my first book to be published out of here, but KSW no longer publishes books and, instead, I find myself in 2014 as the program manager of this great organization that has been serving the Bay Area for 42 years. In 2014 I have found myself with a job that I am passionate about, that has been and continues to do the kind of work I’ve wanted to invest myself towards. A job that allows me to offer the kind of support that was so necessary for me coming up as an artist.
I love this job. I’d love to keep doing this job, but we are a small non-profit and we rely on the generosity of others. If you support me as an artist or a person, then I ask you to help us support and maintain community-based arts in the Bay Area. It’s about spaces and opportunities and allowing the different voices in our community to be the ones who get to define and name our experience. That’s what art can do. It empowers us to speak our own histories and not allow that to be done by people who don’t live where we live or experience what we go through day in and day out. Help the artists in our community be seen and be heard. Support Kearny Street Workshop.
You can make a secure tax-deductible donation here: bit.ly/kearnystreet To learn more: bit.ly/kswat42
Got my new contributor copy of Learn Then Burn 2. All you teachers out there looking for a compilation to help you incorporate slam, spoken word, and contemporary poetry into your classrooms, this is a good book to have.
Just because I know the Internet loves watching 20 minute videos online, here’s a 20 minute video of me doing new work for the Under the Influence reading series produced by Quiet Lightening. Both poems were influenced by 70’s soul singer, Joe Bataan.