Lyrics and Dirges #2

On Oct 20 10, Sharon Coleman, Tomas Moniz and MK Chavez hosted the 2nd installment of Lyrics and Dirges at Pegasus Bookstore in Berkeley, featuring a stellar collection of readers.

In the memorable story “Berkeley Morning,” Shanthi Sekaran describes a progressively intimate encounter with an immigrant worker that humorously and intelligently explores some of the complications and pitfalls in communication across cultures.

Alena Hairston is a powerful stage presence, tall, fierce and commanding. She had much to say about the politics of corporate greed but also wishes to explore those pockets of humanity that sometimes emerge in unexpected circumstances. She has written a series of poems about the  thoroughly integrated southern mining town where she grew up.

James Cagney‘s humorous and often moving poems explore his personal experiences growing up in Oakland and his identity as a Black man.

Maw Shein Win is a poet with a wide range of subjects, as you can see on the video. I was particularly taken with her description of a Marin wedding party which reveals a great deal about the people attending.

M.g. Martin has recently published his first book. He is a remarkable performer who goes well beyond simply reading his poems, but incorporates vocal acrobatics, characterization, music and movement. Here he presents a series of poems in the style of a radio music mix, introducing them in the person of a disc jockey.

And finally, there is Sarah Wisby, who has been reading a lot around town lately. One has to mention her thrilling voice, with its deep reverberations. She reads a lovely poem about a buried ship as well as a beautiful piece from sPARKLE & bLINK on the loss of a beloved pet.

With presentations like this, Lyrics & Dirges promises to be an important voice in the community for a long time to come. We certainly hope so! — Charles Kruger