Anansi Writers Workshop Never Worked on rasx()

Anansi WritersWhen I see a person with strong African features showing the ability to control their language—making it flow into spaces rarely filled by smug captives of luxuriant poverty—I celebrate. This is why exists. My mission as a leader would be to attempt to respect this person because they have a presence and command—as punk George says—“from beyond the stars.” I read poetry out loud at The World Stage for almost a decade. Michael Datcher has been the gatekeeper there, working for the great Kamau Daáood, for almost as long.

One day, at least over five years ago, I asked Mr. Datcher about my being a featured reader. He quickly dismissed my query with the requirement that I have a published book. And that was it. After that, I eventually stopped coming to The World Stage. Reflecting upon this, I, in my poverty, leave myself with these two points—you choose one:

  • The Anansi Writers Workshop needs to work on rasx() so that he can develop his talent. In the mean time, he is not ready to be a featured reader. We invite him to attend our meetings. Donations are accepted.
  • The Anansi Writers Workshop is aware that rasx() is an extremely talented poet and live performer. Many of our dedicated members like Peter J. Harris can identify him in a crowded public place and remark about his work—because it is literally remarkable. However, we can’t find any openings for rasx() because our roster is filled with the likes of Jerry Quickley and Gia Scott-Heron (who will be performing at The World Stage Wednesday, February 9, 2005!). There are a lot of talented poets in Los Angeles and rasx(), who we know as Bryan Wilhite, is just one of them.I need to remind myself that these people are English-speaking artists before we get to any persona or aura that we may identify as African—or any cultural source of environmental consciousness. An artist is a talented ego. Ego-dominant people are likely to overlook others not within the circle of their pleasures… Once I put on my ego-logical thinking cap, it makes perfect sense that I should be left out of the privilege to read more than a two or five minutes at The World Stage. What reward will the Anansi people get out of it? When I go back to my ‘right’ mind, the rebuttal is that the people in the audience should always be made aware that deep Black thought is coming up out of the woodwork from everywhere—sources unknown to any special education programs for poetry. People must be permitted to represent nature itself and then nature must be celebrated. Unfortunately, most people of my past experience see people egocentrically—and they take the appropriate countermeasures to ‘defend’ themselves against the egocentric unknown.

Every time I bring this whole Michael-Datcher-thang up to a sister like Fumilayo Bankole she shakes her head. I guess I should change the subject. But I must add that my sister was a featured reader The World Stage and she has not been ‘formally’ published (like how some educated white folks—and Dr. Margo Crawford—want you published). She and I have chapbooks. And the opinion here is that both of us are very talented—with or without “formal” publication. And we still be coming up out the woodwork.


timeka, 2005-02-04 00:22:52

the return of rasx() is upon the world, people will take what ear fulls they get with glee/they will be choking down their current indiscretions with tears of envious misery as your words beat their listening drums to pulps devoid of seeds/do not gather their current/direct their fury as we storm the sea of supposed "poets"/they seeing nothing. -i dont know what kind of "sister" i am, but as a member of the class of black people that white people tend to call "bright" and "talented" but still seem to be "poor" and "uninsured", i whole heartedly agree with you. better to be unrecognized now, and be glad you stood on your own later, when they are smiling in your face and you can see their fangs. i can't wait to see you do your gansta rap piece.