Book Review: Boneyard, by Dee Allen (Reviewed by Tammra Smith)

[Reviewed by Tammra Smith]

Dee Allen writes with everyday words, but it is his observations that reach to insightful depths. What I read was plainspoken, yet enlightening, simple, and yet complex with deep understanding. He uses soul touching words to paint a picture, images and visual action. I felt like I was in every scene that he described, partaking in the experience. His poems touch on politics, religion, justice, death and human nature. I like that Dee doesn’t feed you an emotion; that is something you bring as you read his poems and songs.

Tammra Smith may be reached at tsmithhrh@att.net.

Folks can get/purchase a copy of “Boneyard: Poems Of African Struggle And Survival In The U.$.” from Poor Press by clicking on the following webpage link below:

http://www.poormag.info/static/

And author-information on Dee Allen here:

http://www.poormag.info/static/dee/index.html

Book Review: Goddess Durga and Sacred Female Power by Laura Amazzone

[Reviewed by Janine Canan]

Goddess Durga and Sacred Female Power is exactly what this book is about: it’s an exploration of the sacredness of the Great Goddess of India and of womanhood itself.

In its pages, author Laura Amazzone takes us on a pilgrimage to the traditional ten-day harvest celebration of Durga that takes place in India and Nepal every year. We experience each day of the ceremony, meeting the Goddess herself, along with her manifestations as Saraswati Goddess of Creativity, Laksmi Goddess of Abundance, Kali Goddess of Transformation, Taleju Goddess of Tantra, Ancient Grandmother, Kumari Girl Goddesses, Matrikas, Yoginis, and the women of Nepal.

Carefully, thoroughly, the author explains aspects and details of the puja which most westerners would be unfamiliar with. Mesmerizing descriptions of colorful devotional rituals are interwoven with well-researched information on their history and meaning, and explanations of their powerful impact on the participants’ psyches.

Amazzone’s personal journey is a search for a Goddess who can heal her from traumatic childhood abuse by a violent father. Through her account, we are allowed to share in inner experiences which are fully integrated into the sociopolitical and spiritual realms. This is empowering feminist writing at its best. Goddess Durga conveys a profound respect for women as it meditates deeply on the current condition of women, and what it means to be a “cosmological” woman.

Janine Canan is the author of Ardor: Poems of Life. Visit JanineCanan.com for more information).

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Paintings by Amelia Lewis

Amelia Lewis is a fine arts painter out of San Francisco, CA. Lewis’ work has been exhibited throughout San Francisco as well as on a national level.

Upcoming Events:

Lewis and JellyFish Gallery (1286 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103) will be producing a visual and musical event titled ‘Storybook’. Visit www.jellyfishgallery.com for more information.

  • Soft Opening :  Friday, May 06, 2011
  • Storybook Reception & Party :  Saturday, May 14, 2011
  • Rafael House Benefit :  Saturday, May 21, 2011

Click here to see more of the artist’s work.

Contact: Amelia@Amelial.com

An Interview with Berkeley gallery-owner, Alta Gerrey

[Article by Jaylan Salah]

Independent, strong and creative, Alta Gerrey of Berkeley, Californa is a true traveler in the Art Sahara. In the 1960s she started Shameless Hussy Press, the first feminist press ever created in the United States. Such a courageous step was not easy. Especially since women writers faced many struggles then, and were seen as ‘shameless’ for seeking to promote their work.

“Certain topics were not considered serious when I was young,” Gerrey says, “being a homemaker, for instance.  Others were considered shocking, such as lesbianism.  Now women can write – and publish – just about anything!”

Shameless Hussy published over 40 books in the twenty years Alta operated it, from 1969 to 1989. Most authors they accepted were women, including Ntozake Shange and Jennifer Jaffe, and they published a variety of genres, including collections of poetry and a few children’s books. And, they were located for a time in the small suburban East Bay town of San Lorenzo – where Gerrey says she felt safer from people who did not appreciate what she was doing.

Gerrey said she started the press because she and other women writers she knew were finding that mainstream publishing houses wouldn’t accept their work. To her, that was how much of the women’s equality movement got started in the United States – simply through women getting together with their friends and sharing things they noticed about their lives.

Jaylan Salah is a freelance writer and Synchronized Chaos contributor from Alexandria, Egypt. You may reach Salah at vigilante171@yahoo.com.

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Poetry by J’Rie B. Elliott

Flower

A flower will die without sunlight
Delivering it’s warming ray.
A flower will die without the rain,
To wash over every day.

We tend flowers and tend them well
Therefore, they bloom with all their might.
We give them time, and space for rain,
And that ever needed light.

However, if the rains are slow to come,
Or the sun refuses to shine,
The flowers will die, but do not feel it.
They will be back in time.

However, we have another flower,
To which we must attend.
This flower is given for us to grow.
To feed, to love, to friend.

J’Rie B. Elliott is a poetess and ongoing contributor of Synchronized Chaos. To contact her, send an email to dixiepoet@gmail.com.

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Poetry Review: The Rhyme of the Ag-ed Mariness, by Lynn Lonidier

[Reviewed by Brooke Cooley]

The Rhyme of the Ag-ed Mariness compiles all the poems written by Lynn Lonidier (1937-1993) between her last book and her death.  Lonidier’s humor, tenacity, and wit weave throughout her words as she experiments with Spanglais – a unique style of writing that incorporates local-Mission Spanish into her original poems that profess a woman-centered quest through the eyes of this streetwise woman visionary.

Lonidier was an unambiguous lesbian and feminist, consistently dedicated to the underprivileged, especially the children of San Francisco’s Mission district during the 1960s.  Her compassion, energy, and tenderness shines through her often angry and painfully real literary images as she explores her truths through the pages of this compilation.

The vision and creation that Lonidier depicts through the pages of this collection of bilingual poems tells a story through the eyes of an activist, teacher, artist, and mentor.  The expression of her experiences through her poetry offered me plenty of opportunities to crave and search for the wisdom and understanding that she also wanted to know and  was able to identify with many of the feelings that she described.  I was especially interested by the way feelings of San Francisco and all the flavor it has to offer were felt throughout the pages and that familiarity bled through, page after page.

Inspiring, heartfelt, and passionate, The Rhyme of the Ag-ed Mariness brought insight into not only the life of a woman who wrote her own script, but encouraged me to continue asking what I wanted to see on the pages of my own life.  She clearly exemplified courage and strength in both her written works as well as her life, taking on challenges that enriched both her life as well as generations to come.

Brooke Cooley may be reached at soupsforthesoul@gmail.com.

Poetry by Eric Sadler

HOWLING

I went howling to the Moon
And I hoped to outrun it
Before the days turn into nights
And she’s left with quite a

FRIGHT

Of Sing, Sing, Sing
And Etta James
And Charles Mingus
And Miles Davis
And Sir Duke
Who juke out those fountains of
Notes
That saw sway saw away
Out of that golden flashing bay.

And I see
Her
In the moonlight
Blocking
The way for me
But not for
Me
But against
Me.

And I guess she was
Dressed for quick
Double time
At the Hide-Away slime.
To chill with the yellow cats
Scratching their chairs
And lapping their beer
And having funny thoughts so queer
Until you think you’re gonna pass
Out
From the stuff.

But her dress was Green
And I was in Black
And she was bathed in
The spotlight of the Moon
And I was drenched with
Howling sweat.

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Please send any questions or feedback to Eric Sadler at etsadler@yahoo.com.

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