here’s no going back. The ’90s poetry scene, laden with promise, talent, and camaraderie has been displaced by motherhood, mortgages, and tenure. But for a moment, the scene, which was originally centered at Brooklyn Moon Cafe, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and numerous other closet-sized spots with three tables and six chairs, was revisited in the 400-seat Cantor Auditorium at the Brooklyn Museum. As poet Jasiri observed, “I’m feeling straight up George & Weezy in here.”
Organized and hosted by Jessica Care Moore & Danny Simmons, the night seemed less about the audience, and more about the infatuation with memory. Revisiting a “groovy” period where artistic practice was solidified and struggles were defeated by strength in numbers. If the Brooklyn Museum was not available this event would have happened in someone’s basement apartment. So strong was the affection and longing permeating the room.
Before the event, Jessica seemed too calm, maybe not realizing what she had pulled off. Twenty poets –flung across America and the globe– sharing the stage for the old-school glory of sharing a stage. It’s no easy feat to gather embers and restart a fire that a generation of younger poets may have little idea existed, but the duo did good. Sadly, the spark most of the poets needed was provided by the death of poet, activist, and scholar Louis Reyes Rivera who transitioned on March 3, 2012 at age 66. A legendary voice in the poetry community, almost everyone shared intimate memories of Reyes Rivera. His spirit served as “light” for the evening. Continue Reading.