Written by Rina Risper
There are so many stories that I have yet to tell you about my crazy summer. By the time you begin to read this edition, I will have returned from San Antonio, Texas. On August 18, a fundraiser was held for the benefit of Trinidad Sanchez, Jr. I will be going to a memorial service to present his wife on August 20, Regina with an love offering from the people in the Lansing area.
Last month, my friend and mentor, Trindad Sanchez, Jr. passed away. I was supposed to visit him this summer, but I always had something to do.
When I heard that Trinidad had a stroke and was unable to speak, I knew it would be a uphill battle for him. His voice was the very essence of his being. Every local poet and person who knew him was aware of his impact on thousands of people across this country.
Trinidad was always very supportive of the arts and poetry. The only thing that we can do is to make sure that his dream to educate is carried out.
Though I am deeply saddened by our loss I am encouraged by our future. I would like pay homage to Trinidad by starting the Trinidad Sanchez, Jr. Urban Arts Society, to promote poetry and grafitti art.
I remember the first time I met Trinidad. I was overwhelmed by his quiet greatness. I had just become a poet and was asked to perform at the Creole Gallery for the Old Town poets.
I felt so honored. I was a poet in training. I learned from everything I saw. And Trinidad helped me to see new things and understand what I was seeing.
Trinidad became my mentor. He taught me that poetry is based on emotion and the integrity of that emotion. Poetry is not to be ciriticized by other poets but to be analyzed by fellow poets. He told me that you can’t please everyone.
At a recent event, I witnessed one poet telling another poet how much they did not like another poet’s work. This shocked me because I work so hard to help performers work together and respect one another. I learned that there are performers who speak poorly about others works because they themselves are insecure about their own work.
About a year ago, I read a poem and I didn’t really think it was that good. But recently I ran into someone at the library and he told me that it was his favorite poem. So, I’ve learned not to allow anyone to dictate who my poetry is for. I just believe that it may touch someone.
Maybe that someone is like Trinidad Sanchez or maybe that someone could be like you. I write for the purposes of writing.
It was meant for me to witness that scene, because at that moment it threatened rain. I heard thunder. It was supposed to rain all day but God knew that I had to have this poetry event on this day.
Any negativity from that person was being monitored by me. I am almost sure that they were unaware of my monitoring, but the threat of rain kept me on top of it.
Where are all of the people? I thought, as I looked at the sky. Then I thought to myself, they don’t want to chance an outdoor poetry event on a cloudy, looks like rain type of day. I smiled. However, by the end of the night, we had at least 60 people come through.
We gathered by Cooley Gardens at the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame and Museum. We read poetry under mystical circumstances and as we read poetry we became more as one.
I could see Ruelaine Stokes, the coordinator of The Old Town poets smiling internally. The Nu Poets love sharing the stage with the other poets. Tim Lane coordinator of the Magdalena’s poets read.
It was beautiful. I could only believe that we would be done before the rain. The poetry finally came to an end but it was a performance by all that I will never forget.
Our poetry reading ended that night on the same day we found out that Trindad was sick.
Ruelaine and I looked deep into each others eyes. I could see that he had touched her as profoundly as he did me.
We packed up for the evening at 9:06 pm we were leaving and the heavens open and weeped with unabandoned emotion. The wind blew and I felt an overwhelming sense of calm.
We would get through this together.
On another note, in the article entitled “68th District Candidates Debate Set for August 2, at the Black Child and Family Institute” the correct statement made by Rina Risper should have been, “Political bullying should not be accepted and when it happens our elected leaders should stand up for the people.”
We received a phone call about the mistake and the person was not very friendly about it. I told her that we make mistakes just so that we can have another opportunity to make a point. I said it with a smile though. I also told her that we were looking for volunteers as well and I extend that offer to our readers.
If you would like to volunteer as an editor please e-mail me at email@example.com.
Poetry starts at Gregory’s on September 19, 2006 at 7:30 pm.