Friday, November 30, 2007


Earlier this week, while conducting my poet laureate duties (yawn) at Dutch Henry Winery, a young student came by doing some spreading-the-word about her project to trace the history of two local workers who immigrated to Napa Valley from Mexico. I was dozing by the wine barrels minding my own business -- which dozing-and-minding-one's-business is, frankly, the better way for some recent poet laureates to do their lariat duties -- when one of the wine tasting room's curators directed her to me because "she's a poet."

So, seated at this bench and trying to be poet lariat-like, I stopped yawning. And talked to the young lady about her project. She apparently spent four years (which means she began at 16! Love young un's interviewing these workers and then ended up writing a 250-page novel! And now she's going to trace back their migrant steps all the way back to Mexico, along with Maria, one of the workers.

Thing is, after our discussion, she returned back to her car where Maria apparently was waiting. And she told Maria she'd just spoken to a poet. And this Maria zipped out of her car and came up to me all excited!
Maria: Habla espanol? [Don't ask me to do the accent marks; don't know how to do that html thingie]

Moi: Unnnnnnn poquito. Muuuuy un poquito.

Maria [undeterred]: I want you to hear my poem and tell me how to make it better!

And with no further ado, she launched into her (English) poem which was about her migration to the U.S.

I tell ya! 'Twas enough to wake me up. A really moving poem that she'd memorized...enabling her to share it with a total stranger. It's pretty rare to be addressed like this in this day and age. Wow. Later, of course, I toasted Maria.

Speaking of winepoetics, wanna see what Moi looks like when she's tipsy but still slogging along on a poetry reading? Check Moi HERE (this link of friends of the winery that they titled "Peeps" -- really? where'd you get that from, boys?). 'Twas during a Katrina fundraising held at the winery. I look at that photo now and, gads, all I can remember is how heavy that BRICK is, particularly after several glasses of wine.


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