On Saturday May 11, 2013 I had the pleasure of attending Blind Beggar Press’ 35th year Anniversary celebration as a publisher. The location was Bronx Community College Rosco E. Brown Hall. Blind Beggar Press celebrated with the publication of a 35th Anniversary Journal, New Rain, Volume 11, the Collector’s Edition. New Rain, Volume 11 is a phenomenal collection of poems by forty poets. Poets who have graced the pages of Blind Beggar Press publications and performance venues. I am certain, I am not the first to say New Rain Volume 11 is one of their crowning achievements. Persons in attendance were blessed with an afternoon of programming which enriched our spirits. We greeted old friends and made new ones. All persons missing this major event, missed an historical opportunity.
Poet and co-founder Gary Johnston opened with a historical overview of Blind Beggar Press. Blind Beggar Press was founded by a group of creative and courageous young men. It was founded for the purpose of providing a publication where the voices of poets, writers and the community could have an opportunity to be heard and share their words. Voices desiring to share pertinent and work which reflected their lives with its many nuances. They desired to publish works relevant to those missing in America’s cultural texts and psyches. Three of the original Unity Brothers Circa 1975 are Gary Johnston, C.D. Grant and Reggie Mclaurin. Blind Beggar Press has been the recipient of many certificates and awards over the years, they remain humble, goal, work focused and continue to have the same committment.
In tribute to the late poets and supporters of Blind Beggar Press Louis Reyes Rivera, Brenda Conner Bey and Tom Mitchelson, poets Angela Kinamore, Jose Angel Figueroa and Tony Mitchelson each read a poem written by the late poets.
Pianist and musicologist Valerie Capers was honored for her outstanding body of work, mentorship and work efforts on behalf of Blind Beggar Press with an award which was accepted on her behalf.
A wonderful dance selection dedicated to the life of Frida Kahlo, and performed by Jessica Isa Burns was one of the event’s highlights. Ms. Burns was accomapnied on guitar by Guitarist Katsuya Michiyo. The tribute to Frida Kahlo was choreographed by choreographer Michiyo Tanaka founder and director of Mad About Dance. A standing ovation followed the performance.
Laughter flowed throughout the room with the signing of journals by poets in attendance. Someone suggested that each poet sign their page in everyones journal. It started as a great idea ending up with persons doing the intended, signing their personal copy, and journals not landing in the hands of their original owners. This resulted in jokes, and laughter. It was at this point someone suggested we each write our names in our journals. This poet and journalist is still laughing.
Poets in attendance for Blind Beggar Press’35th Anniversary were Ron Kavanaugh, publisher of Mosiac Magazine; poets Kamernebti Mer Amon, Mercy L.Tullis-Bukhari, Lorraine Currelley, founder of Poets Network & Exchange, Jose Angel Figueroa, C.D. Grant, Gary Johnston, Angela Kinamore, Layding Lumumba Kaliba, Esther Louise, Tony Mitchelson and Atiba Kwabena-Wilson.
©Lorraine Currelley 2013. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication of this material without express and written permission from this author is strictly prohibited.