Tuesday, April 12, 2011


and I'm not just talking poetry but the adoption experience. One of the challenges of curating POETS ON ADOPTION is the balancing act of what can or cannot be revealed and/or articulated. There are privacy issues, and there are anguishes too much to yet be captured in words. The latest contributor, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, was adopted as a biracial baby in South Africa in 1966, at the height of apartheid. Phillippa did not have to say anything more than one sentence -- "Under apartheid people of colour were ruthlessly segregated -- to bring forth all the complications and pain of her (and her birth country's) experience.

And if you look at Nick Carbo's memory of elementary schoolmates' response to being picked up by his adoptive parents at his school in Manila, thus making his classmates aware for the first time of his white parents, you can glean so much more when he also observes that such was his "first inkling about racism" and that such came from U.S.-Americans but not the Filipino or Spanish communities in which he lived.

I'm plucking out these two examples which show just how much circumstances and histories out of our (individual) controls become ... controlling factors in one's lives. This is true beyond adoption, and yet its risks are heightened by adoption.

I sometimes learn more than what gets posted in the blog. I appreciate that you poets are trusting me, whom you've mostly never met, with your stories.

So far, ten new poets have shared contributions in April (almost one poet per day!). And there are more poets still to come! I'm loving how the site can feature a range from a poet laureate to someone never published before. Do visit the site -- there's much to learn, and not just about poetry but (among many other things) about the effects of love, or its lack, on human development.

Last but not least, Joy Katz's fabulous--just FABULOUS!--contribution puts forth another motivation for adoption that's not as prevalent in the adoption world. She also writes what is arguably my favorite poem yet featured on the site: "HABIT." Indeed, adoption aside, her contribution is a wonderful example of poetry-in-progress (a subject close to my heart as that was what my very first book, BLACK LIGHTNING, explored). And how she conflates the heroin experience with mothering is a wonderful example of the imagination's fertile expanse as well as, simply, brilliant. Check it out! Check them all out!

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