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Honoring Poet Laureate, Brenda Connor-Bey

Updated on January 20, 2012

The Brenda Connor - Bey Effect

This page honoring Brenda Connor-Bey is still evolving, in place because i don't want any more time to wind away from me without paying tribute to Poet Laureate, Brenda Connor-Bey.

I have many pages to write about the exhalted Saturday afternoons sitting in a circle in her "Blowouts" Workshops at the BACA Arts Center in Brooklyn, New York.

There is so much I would like to say about the teacher who gave me permission to call myself a poet. I have so much to write, don't want to wait, and so, would like to share pieces composed, shaped into a poem and polished with her guidance. Imagine a world where there's no writer's block. That is the world of Brenda Connor-Bey, as a teacher, she provides magic words. I feel every piece I've written since I've known her is influenced by her teaching, guidance and inspiration.


The Legacy Of Ibo Landing: Gullah Roots of African American Culture

From "Let the Laureates Speak"

"Named the first Poet Laureate of Greenburgh, New York, Brenda Connor-Bey is the author of Thoughts of an Everyday Woman/An Unfinished Urban Folktale, a collection of prose and poetry. She is the founder of MenWem Writers Workshop, a member of Slapering Hol Press Advisory Committee, the Harlem Writers' Workshop, the Poetry Caravan, and the Advisory Committee for the Westchester Center for Creative Aging. She is a recipient of the Westchester Fund for Women and Girls' Outstanding Arts Educator Award, a New York State CAPS award for poetry, four PEN awards for non-fiction (B.H.R.A.G.S. Celebrates Its People's Culture, The Brooklyn Museum), and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction. She is a MacDowell, YADDO and Cave Canem Regional Fellow. Recently, she completed a chapbook of poetry, Through the Mists of Remembering, and a collection of poetry, Crossroad of the Serpent. Brenda is an arts-in-education consultant, a teacher of creative writing at the Hudson Valley Writers' Center and the Kids' Short Story Connection and a facilitator of professional development workshops for administrators and teachers."



In the Beginning

Here to celebrate the primordial A, A good friend who has created All worlds. Soon to be in alpha garden Strewn with allusions, Aleph shines on the stage. Illuminates with splashing fountains And sparkling tiles. Passageways to birdfilled courtyards Spring, From a single letter And a plain page.

© Cory Zacharia



A Poem For Wanda

I once had the sad occasion to write a eulogy, scribbled illegibly on the Long Island Railroad, to a very dear friend, also a student in our group, named Wanda. We were all there, to read our words, to feel, to cry.

Dear Wanda: You wore flowered dresses And fathomful eyes Enhanced by kohl and smiles. You welcomed your guests With gratitude and poured Latin coffee Because you knew how they felt, Even if they only thought in French. Had I known you longer, Would I have had you better? Sometimes your sleeve would Slip down your beautiful shoulder Because you were more present In the intellect. You touched the helpless By teaching them to read. And at a different kind of reading, Where we all spelled our own, One poet felt moved to address His letters to you, Dear Wanda. I remember your words: Scrambled eggs were not the same as cake, And, dear precocious chiild, I’d brace myself for more truth Than I could bear, But that was your way. Had I know you longer, I would have had you better. So please, in your jade and emerald Grotto, with orchid paper and Peacock pens, where you sing to Lutes and flutes and kalimbas And your Kabalah opens its pages to you, Where one of your moments is Our Endless Time, Gaze back into our world, Send us your sweet thoughts... And I promise we’ll always be friends.

© Cory Zacharia


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