Poetry nourishes my soul….
It inspires, encourages, edifies and uplifts my inner being. And no other works of poetry build me up like the works of legendary Poet, Teacher, Scholar, Essayist, Political Activist and one of my all time “Sheroes”-June Jordan (1936-2002).
With everything going on in the world today, I thought that our next #InspirationalButterfly should be one that fortifies our wings , sympathizes and justifies our femininity and empowers our intellect. Someone that transcends culture, space and time….that Butterfly is June Jordan.
The multifaceted poetess allowed others to express every level of emotion and every division of humanity in her works.
At times when I feel depleted, as a human being, a mother, a friend, or a woman, I reach for June’s poetry. When I feel as though I can’t express love correctly, I can reach for June’s poetry. When I feel as though I made a fool of myself, I can reach for June’s poetry. When I need the right words to express my cause and strengthen my “womanity”, I can reach for June’s poetry. When I need an extra voice to express the conditions of racism, sexism, political divide, aboriginal conditions, and the like, I can reach for June’s poetry. When I need to heal from cupid’s broken arrow, I can reach for June’s poetry. And sometimes when I just need a good laugh, I can reach for June’s poetry.
I reach not only to calm myself or to express my self, but to validate myself. See the power of June’ Jordan’s poetry is in her transparency. Many women try to escape maturity by neglecting to reveal the episodes of time that they have lived. They refuse to let in on how old they are by their experiences because they only see value in youth. And some others refuse to share their journey because they believe it will give others some sort of unfair advantage at life. Which is totally absurd….
But thankfully, June Jordan was not did not shy away from sharing life for either reason. She recorded her life experiences, I’m sure for her own artistic reasons, boldly. And though she is no longer here, her work is still relevant to us today. I personally believe that each account penned was a teaching lesson for a younger generation.
As a member of that generation, I thank her publically from the bottom of my heart. And I introduce her to you so that you can learn and be uplifted from this amazing and inspirational woman.
June Jordan (1936 – 2002) was a poet, activist, journalist, essayist and teacher. Prolific and passionate, she was an influential voice who lived and wrote on the frontlines of American poetry, international political vision and human moral witness. The author of many award-winning books, she traveled widely to read her poems and to proclaim a vision of liberation for all people. Dynamic, rebellious, and courageous, June Jordan was, and still is, a lyrical catalyst for change.
Born in Harlem in 1936, Jordan was the child of West Indian immigrant parents, who raised her in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, where she began writing poetry at the age of seven. In her teens, she attended the Northfield School for Girls in Massachusetts, and in 1953 enrolled at Barnard College, where she would earn her B.A. She was married in 1955, and divorced after having one child.
Jordan was active in the civil rights, feminist, antiwar and gay and lesbian rights movements, even as she became known as a writer. In 1967, after running poetry workshops for children in Harlem, Jordan began her teaching career at the City College of New York. She taught at Yale University and Sarah Lawrence College, and became a professor of English at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she directed The Poetry Center. In 1988, she was appointed professor of African-American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where she founded the influential poetry program Poetry For the People.
June Jordan was the author of more than twenty-five major works of poetry, fiction and essays, as well as numerous children’s books. Jordan wrote the librettos for the operas Bang Bang Uber Alles with music by Adrienne Torf, and I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky, with music by John Adams; she wrote lyrics frequently for other musicians, as well as plays and musicals. Her journalism was published widely in magazines and newspapers around the world, and she was a regular columnist for The Progressive. An electrifying speaker, Jordan collected many of her most influential speeches and addresses in her books of essays. ~Taken from http://www.JuneJordan.com
You can read more about June Jordan at the website that carries her name and also from the Poetry Foundation.
To get you into the works of June Jordan and other brilliant poets of our time, I will be sharing with you, each day, one (maybe two 🙂 ) poems that I believe will encourage, uplift, edify, inspire, calm, and/or validate you in some way! We’re starting today, so look for a post coming directly after this one:)
I hope you come to enjoy and cherish her works as I do.