2007-03-02 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Of Poets, Prints And Queens Rockaway Artists Alliance
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein Next RAA exhibition @ RoCA is

Of Poets, Prints And Queens
Rockaway Artists Alliance

Commentary by Susan
Next RAA exhibition @ RoCA is

"Welcome to My World," by Gustavo Lucin. Medium: Photography."Welcome to My World," by Gustavo Lucin. Medium: Photography. Photography: Process and Print . On view @ RoCA in Fort Tilden: Saturday, March 10-Sunday, April 1. Opening reception: Sunday, March 11 from 1 to 3 p.m. The show brings a variety of photographic visions and techniques, from gelatin silver print to digital manipulation, to sTudio 6 Gallery.

Calling Artists of all mediums for: "The BIG Show"

Think BIG! Open to all media. Size requirements: minimum of 6 (six) feet in size, (maximum indoor height 10 feet, maximum indoor width 50 feet. Outdoors anything goes).

DEADLINE FOR ENTRY: March 23, 2007.

On view @ RoCA: April 21 - May 20, 2007. Opening reception: April 29, 2007, 1-3 p.m.

Call to Artists for: "Of Land and Sea" DEADLINE FOR ENTRY: March 23, 2007. On view @ RoCA: April 21 - May 20, 2007. Opening reception: April 29, 2007, 1-3 p.m.

Contact RAA for details, entry form, prospectus: 718-474-0861; rock art116@aol.com


Queens Borough President's Office is seeking applications for Queens Poet Laureate: Postmark Deadline for application and accompanying materials is March 15, 2007.

I have just learned that the Office of Queens Borough President Helen Marshall is seeking a new Queens Poet Laureate, to hold the honorary position from 2007 to 2010. The tradition was begun in 1997 to celebrate and express, through poetry, the rich diversity and vitality of our multi-cultural borough. To be eligible, you must currently live in Queens and have lived in the borough for at least two years. Among other requirements, you must write poetry (published or unpublished) inspired by, or that otherwise relate to the borough of Queens.

The honorary three-year position of Queens Poet Laureate demands certain responsibilities. For example, attending and collaborating in a variety of events and performances around Queens. Go to: www.queensbp.org , (scroll down to "Culture" and click where appropriate) for further eligibility and application requirements, to fill in and print out an application form, and for a list of required materials to accompany the form. The form and materials must be mailed to the Office of Queens Borough President at the address listed on the application. For information, contact Susie Tanenbaum, Community and Cultural Coordinator, Queens Borough President's Office. Phone: 718 286-2741.

I was recently asked to do a public reading from the writings of Maya Angelou. In my research I re-discovered certain facts about the life of this remarkable woman - a life spent fighting against and triumphing over great odds - which I had either forgotten or of which I had not been aware. It is appropriate, at the end of Black History Month and at the beginning of Women's History Month, to share them with you. I suggest you "Google" her to find out more.

Angelou was born Marguerite Ann Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri in 1928. Her parents were divorced when Angelou was very young and she lived with her mother and grandmother at different times. As a child she was sexually abused by her mother's boy friend. When her uncles found out, they beat the boy friend to death. As a horrific consequence, Maya became mute for five years, believing that the "power of her words led to someone's death." After being assaulted by her father's girl friend she ran away for a period of time. She lived in a junkyard with other homeless children of various ethnic backgrounds. Their collective struggle to survive caused Angelou to change her way of looking at life and at others. It set, she has said, a tone of tolerance for the rest of life. She gave birth to a son at age 16. Angelou took all sorts of jobs to support herself and her son, sometimes causing her to have to leave him, which almost drove her to suicide. Among her jobs she sang at the "hungry i" night club in San Francisco and performed in a touring company of Porgy and Bess.

Angelou's achievements and awards are many. A life-long civil rights activist, at age 15 she fought to become the first black person to be hired on a San Francisco streetcar. Her many poems, contributions to periodicals and autobiographical novels, which include I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, have received critical acclaim and have given voice to and inspiration to many who have gone through hardships in their own lives. Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Die was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Though she never received a college education, she has received many honorary doctorates and has taught at prestigious universities. In 1993 Angelou became only the second poet in history to read at the inauguration of a president. The first African American woman to be admitted to the Director's Guild of America, her achievements and awards extend to the worlds of theater and television. Maya Angelou's life has been a determined journey of self-discovery, courage and the education of others.

Remember to Save the Date: The Rockaway Literary Arts Festival, Sunday, April 22 in Fort Tilden. One of the many activities that day is poetry readings by Dan Guarino, Susan Hartenstein and Robert Viscusi, an award-winning writer, college professor and President of the Italian American Writers Association.

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