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Crowd celebrates poetry at Ladies First
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Crowd celebrates poetry at Ladies First

by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

First, before I let you know that I completely enjoyed last weekend's Ladies First poetry/hip hop/music evening put on by CARA (Communities Against Rape and Abuse), having gotten into Seattle during the heyday of groups like Red Sky Poetry Theatre and several other similar poetry groups, I wonder whatever happened to just plain poetry - not the slam variety that's become so accepted that even McDonald's has used the model in several of their ads. I mean, aren't there any other people in Seattle (besides me and a couple of other poets I remember from when I used to read on open mics around town) who write about love, nature and occasionally do what could be considered an "angry poem"?

Okay, now that I've said that, let me go on to say that last weekend's poetry and music program put on by CARA as part of their monthly Ladies First evening was delightfully diverse, and even at one point included a team-up between tap dancer Pamela Yasutake and singer/violinist Akua Kariamu (who has worked with famed New York performance poets, The Last Poets, among other notables) to give the audience an even stronger performance piece called "Prophetess Prayer." The effect was nothing short of stunning, and won many cheers and claps from the grateful audience.

Also on the program was Chelsea, who also works at the CD Forum, and who composed a love poem for dancer Camille Brown when Brown was in town for a performance a few months back. Chelsea read that poem last weekend, as well as another powerful poem speaking to issues of race relations in America, which again drew understanding cheers and much applause from the audience, as did Chelsea's comments from the stage to her little daughter, Raven.

CARA has T-shirts and hoodies for sale, and the funds generated go to support CARA's work with communities of people of color, including work with Somalian and Ethiopian women who are working to be more independent in Seattle.

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