The Fire Begins
During Winter 2016 at Allegany State Park, poets around the fire sat in a circle to welcome old and new voices. Some began to share their work. Others listened. Joe Hall was one of these poets. He would speak the following day but that night, he partook as a listener. Lissa, Nathan, Julio…continued to share, feeling warmth and embrace. The fire flickered throughout the night. The gathering was ongoing breathing life, lighting the hearts at the circle.
During Spring 2016 at WNYBAC, readers from the University at Buffalo’s Innovative Writing Program brought the first line of their work to the circle, threw wood to ignite flames within the heart of the listeners; poems aflame, had become a life of their own:
The Circle Forms
Blue, yellow, red flickers, smoke rises into darkness. Becomes part of the scent in the environment, soot in the air in the park. Authentic voices blazing in the exhibit. To listen to the voices that are not familiar and to see what lights up is part of the performance.
The first reader, Nathan Moore explained the title, A Prime and how his work related to it: “We were thinking about 'primacy', the idea of being the first or seminal. We are the first cohort of Innovative Writing students, this was our first reading together; so the idea of origins and beginnings was already there. I'm really interested and inspired by history, legends; especially histories and knowledges that have been marginalized, erased or forgotten. So, I turned to the primal, violent space and system that created America: Slavery. And the work just kind of came from those two streams of thought.”
The community at the exhibit was engaged listening to the readings, watching the performances, speaking over refreshments, and asking questions.
The readers would like to thank…
Rachel L. Johnson
Contributor Focus: "Buffalo: Deep Roots Abroad"