Poetry with a (drum) beat

I got to read poetry to the beat of African drums and flute! Here is how this came about:

Pasculine Doucin-Dahlke put out a call: “I am a local artist looking to explore the use of five neighborhood kiosks on Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles as a neighborhood public and art and poetry exhibition and to represent the same artworks at the Little Ethiopia Cultural Resource Center.” Art in the community is important to me. I submitted poems for the theme: Your Blooms, Your Hood for the May Exhibition #4. Four poems were accepted! Two of my poems were presented with Pasculine’s beautiful art work (shown below).


I was excited to explore this part of Los Angeles. First, dinner had to be eaten with your hands at Messob Ethiopian Restaurant. There are several restaurants to choose from! Then it was reception time hosted by Nikki Legesse, Executive Director of the Little Ethiopia Cultural and Resource Center with an Art Walk along Fairfax Ave.

Pascaline (see above) was the emcee and made everyone feel welcome. Photographer Dawit Asfaw shared amazing images from his visit to Ethiopia. Megashia Jackson drummed and taught the audience movements for a traditional welcome. Then Lydia Tilahun danced! (Photo by Tal @taliesinday)


I was told I could have drums while I read my poems. The drummer thought she was finished and left the room. I got up to the microphone and requested Megashia to play. I see music and poetry as a partnership in conversation and didn’t want to miss this opportunity. She was happy to. Her playing three drums took the poems to a new place. Imagine the following poem from “Listen to the Codex” being read to the beat of drums.

Finding True Home      One day we let us in     Oana Stefanita

Every culture had a fertility goddess. Creation.    Life.    Spring.   Seed.

Maia, eldest of the seven Pleides, earth goddess

intense black eyes

Protected the city.    Overripe.    Worshiped.    Honored.

Life source.

Nature rhythms.

Touched earth.    Grew to sky.     New Birth.   (c) Cindy Rinne

Then a young man joined in on a beautifully carved flute as I read more poems. It’s hard to express the joy I felt reading with the music and the pulse of the community. (Photo by Tal @taliesinday)


Other wonderful poets read and fabulous artists shared about their work. (Photos by Tal @taliesinday)

Merone Misikir sang stirring songs to the music of Chris James. (Photo by Tal @taliesinday)

Thank you to all who made this a memorable evening. Thanks to sponsors: The Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles and Little Ethiopia. I close with a photograph I took of (l-r) Nikki Legesse, Megashia Jackson, and Merone Misikir.





~ by fiberverse on May 10, 2018.

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