The Scales and Stanzas of Justice

Gone are the days when poetry readings were confined to the dimly lit coffee houses, public libraries, and beat bars of urbania. This being one of the world’s meccas for all things literary, we hardly bat an eyelash when we hear of places such as Tony Serra’s law offices hosting regular poetry readings. Serra, who has made a career defending society’s outcasts by expressing “the poetry of the law,” has been holding such events for some three years now, usually with a binding theme attached. In tonight’s Poet’s Gallery, he has invited Native American poets of various origins and tribes to share their stories and ideas in verse. Among the performers is Sharon Doubiago, who, like many who read tonight, attempts to make sense of her people’s altered history. In “100 Memories I Don’t Remember,” she muses: “I don’t remember my gender, my father, my tribe, the fear/but I remember my mother is lost/so my heart rises to go to them … a hundred billion ancestral faces looking up, if/you are found guilty, Daddy, will they execute you?” Kim Shuck writes poetry when she isn’t teaching, weaving, traveling, or child wrangling. She speaks for a mixed group of ancestors from the Tsalagi, Sauk, and Fox tribes. Linda Noel, ex-poet laureate of Ukiah, meditates from the perspective of the High Sierra’s Kiyungkow KonKow Maidu tribe, which means “people from the meadow.” Serra has also invited Native American musicians including the Uncle Buffet Band for auditory accompaniment.
Fri., March 11, 6:30 p.m., 2011

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