Going for It: Woman Warrior

Poetry in the moment

I sat on my grandmother's couch staring intently at her, straining each one of my senses to make sure I did not gloss over the cadence of her curated words or allow a carefully crafted metaphor to slip by unnoticed or misinterpreted.

Every once in a while, she'd glance up and offer a brief explanation or back story.  She wasn't assessing my reaction;  these poems weren't written to elicit one.  Nonetheless, my laughter and tears would have been a dead giveaway that I was captivated.

Her voice conveys the layered meaning behind each word and although she is sitting across from me, I am certain that we were breathing in unison.  Her poetry explores love, life, mortality, acceptance, history and tenacity, seasoned with hints of irreverence and the perspective that only decades of experience can shape.

There is nothing safe about my grandmother's poetry. Albeit with sensitivity, she writes about topics that might make you squirm, or just thank the universe that you did not spend 20 years teaching the most impoverished first graders in the Los Angeles Unified School District in the 1970s nd 1980s or better yet, that you didn't have to heal half the battle wounds the children faced.

She doesn't stick to iambic pentameter, often using right brain writing techniques. And one book of poems, akin to hip hop in their dynamism, prompted one friend of hers to comment "Hey Lil, not bad for an old Jewish broad."

As I sit there, I start fidgeting for me phone.  I want to record her reading with the voice recorder app on my iPhone.  Moments later, I stop and shift my focus back to her. No recording could capture her or this moment anyway.


Alexis Rodich

 |  September 17, 2010; 6:57 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Lesson learned from the Local Natives | Next: Rejection leads to success

Post a Comment

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company