31- Carolyn Gage, James Thomas Stevens

So today, I wake up late and continued the blog. It drives me crazy. As usual when I want to finish something quickly and the program doesn’t work well, it takes 3 times longer.

7 :00, evening readings, while waiting we talk. Robbie Steinbach, photographer came: she prepares an exhibition which begins on 13 March. She asks Carolyn, Pamela and me to go next Wednesday to Abiquiu, unless there’s deep snow!  She had lived there for 5 years Also there tonight are Rena Rosequist, Bill and Teresa Ebie, the singer / painter Patty Sheehan…
These lectures are always organized by SOMOS – Society Of the Muse Of the Southwest – I repeat the name as I adore its exuberance.
Taos News did an article to introduce the evening, which takes place in the former home of Mabel Dodge Luhan.

I came here full of optimism because tonight they had invited :
James Thomas Stevens begins, a Mohawk poet to read his poems and
Carolyn to play a part from one of her plays.

As soon as James Thomas Stevens begins, it is astonishing. Among others, a set of poems written in Mohawk language which he reads tonight in three versions, Mohawk, English, and his own personal translation which unfolds with each telling and is never quite the same.
His readings are superb and his use of the third version reminds us of his people’s dynamic oral tradition, as the stories, poems, myths evolved as people passed them on.

Jacqueline, this is my first entry into “Indian territory”.
He lived in Canada and elsewhere and for a year near Santa Fe. His mother is Mohawk (he keeps the well known name “Mohawk” despite the fact that it was given by their enemies and is translated as “cannibal”. But he told us that they call themselves “the people who knew flint”).
His Welsh father likes to say that it’s from him and the people of Wales that he gets his gift! His decision to become a poet was certain on the day a teacher said in class: “Poetry is the orchestration of silence”. When his father came home in the evening after work and his many children asked him questions, he would answer: “I have no more words.”

– “For Indians”, he added, “silence is an integral part of the story as it is told. In poetry also, because it speaks in many fewer words than novels. That works for me.”
As in the jazz of Miles Davis?

It is Carolyn’s turn and it is lively, fast-paced. Everyone laughs and yet throughout we feel the pain of the two nineteenth century women “Fly Rod” Crosby and her Annie Oakley, both rejected, unloved, different.
Pamela, Carolyn and I go to dinner at Doc Martins. Lively discussion among us America / Canada / France, married women / lesbians / single women, theater / painting / photography, etc …
And we return, in beauty. The labyrinth made of stones on the ground, right there in the car’s headlights. Do we “walk” it tomorrow?.

You may also like

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do some research on this. We got a grab a book from our area library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I am very glad to see such magnificent info being shared freely out there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *