Friday, April 26, 2013

PoMo2013 - Poem 26 - Nikky Finney

Nikky Finney, Last night

Seattle Arts and Lectures' Poetry Series, 4/25/13 


Be generous, she said
after rounds of stand-up applause
for the 10th grade WITS* poet
who read her poem
before Finney walked on stage
to more stand-up
from a Seattle audience
who made her feel,
she said, like a rock star.

Be generous she repeated.
Support your poets out loud.
Give them tools
to craft their work is
what Finney’s mother did
and her grandmother
and siblings
and her father too.
And then came Colleen McElroy
(in the audience)
who taught her excellence
and Lucille Clifton who,
finding the younger poet scrambling
and embarrassed at her door,
said:  Come on in child.
And then came Nikki Giovanni
whose own mother helped red-ink
Finney’s poems-in-progress.
and later paraded
them down the street.

Be generous, Finney said
support your kin
treat them as if
they are
already famous
so they 
to say
their poems
out loud.

Be generous,
so the poet
can tell
her stories.
and tell them

-Esther Altshul Helfgott

*Writers in the School

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