On Reading Chrystos: Her Words Are Not Vanishing
By Jorge Antonio Vallejos
This past Saturday, April 6 2013, I had the honour of presenting my memoir essay On Reading Chrystos: Her Words Are Not Vanishing at the ACLA (American Comparative Literature Association) 2013 conference in Toronto, Canada as part of a panel called The Poet and the World.
The essay is about my favorite poet Chrystos, a member of the Menominee Indian Nation. If it was not for reading Chrystos I would not be a poet.
Chrystos’ first collection of poems Not Vanishing has influenced me to be a better person, and poet, by showing me that poetry does not have to be about flowers, and it does not have to be written by white folks.
More importantly, her poems inspired me to match my politics with words. Chrystos’ example had me take action via writing to challenge several injustices in the society where I live: racism, neo colonialism, homophobia, transphobia, violence against women, ableism, classism, sexism…
I was the only non-academic presenting on my panel at ACLA 2013, one of the biggest literature conferences in the world (people from Canada, United States, Spain, and Holland co-presented with me, and 2000 people attended the conference). Being the only person not presenting an academic paper, I wondered how my workd would be received?
The packed room loved it! A professor from UCLA approached me afterward to shake my hand and thank me for the essay. With tears in her eyes she said, “I’ve never cried at a conference. Thanks for the work that you do.”
I hope you enjoy and SHARE this video of me reading my essay On Reading Chrystos: Her Words Are Not Vanishing at ACLA 2013:
SUBSCRIBE to the Black Coffee Poet YOUTUBE Channel for FREE: 155 videos: poetry, song, interviews, VLOGS, readings and workshops.