An All-Star Treatment for Student Poets on Tour

In the farthest outreach to date of Professor June Jordan's Poetry for the People program, 14 Berkeley students are touring New York City reading their poetry in public places such as cafes, bookstores and on the radio March 22 to 29.

"First and foremost, it's an attempt to do a bicoastal exchange of young voices," said Xochiquetzal Candelaria, an undergraduate and member of the tour. "We address community issues as well as political issues with our poetry, everything from the welfare reform bill to social questions."

Jordan's group holds readings and workshops at Glide Memorial Church and Berkeley High School. But with the tour, "our student poets are being treated the way all-star basketball and all-star football players get treated. This is an all-star event in humanities," said Jordan, a professor of African American Studies. Sponsors include the Division of Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies. n

Mr. President

before you sign a bill

that pushes 1.2 million more


into poverty

please take a walk with my father

hike past the one room houses

of gray wood

and you will find a narrow road

of copper earth

cleaving to this hill my father calls

gods country

cuz this mound of earth offers

a bed of white flowers

red rock

and wind to wash the sun down

offers my father a moment with a child

who runs fierce up to ridges

reaches for black stones like gold

but returns tired

to my father

who swings this child onto his back

for the rest of the climb

an ancient act

an affirmative action

of love

so before your ink stains a child's day

take a walk

talk to a man that stands

like a mountain

by Xochiquetzal Candelaria


Copyright 1996, The Regents of the University of California.
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