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2005 Writers Forum
Brenda Givens

Brenda Givens is a poet, storyteller and writer. Born in Ruislip, England, she has spent the majority of her life in the Northwest and currently lives in Everett, Washington. Brenda has spent many years presenting her work in a wide range of venues including Barnes and Nobel Bookstores, the University of Washington, Seattle Children’s Museum, Seattle Folk Life Festival, 3rd Place Books, Auntie’s Bookstore, and the Tacoma, Olympia and Federal Way Public Libraries. Her writing has been published in Las Cruces Poets and Writers Magazine, Brothers and Others (an anthology of African American women writing about African American men), the Seattle City Council Session, Pralines and Cream (a chap book) and the Tacoma Literary Guild publications. Brenda is also a storyteller, retelling the traditional stories of Anansi the Spider from Africa, and the Brer Rabbit stories of the American South. Her latest work in progress, a novel, is currently under submission. Brenda Givens photo
photo credit:
dean wong
Read and listen to excerpts from a discussion between Brenda Givens and 2005 curator John Mifsud.
Listen to an excerpt of Brenda's reading (MP3)
Lessons in Anger (sticks and stones)

can’t say when
must have been about the beginnin’ of time
a weddin’ took place
hate met ignorance
formed a loathsome union
i met their son when i was five

he wasn’t much
just a word
a thousand words had gone before
none so maiming though
he knocked me down
took from me in one cruel moment

i got up confused and longin’
now in his strange world
colors dulled by hot futile winds
clouds that never soothe the pleadin’
cracks of earth
green tree muted – blue sky vague

won’t dream so easily
won’t trust so readily

he never went too far away
hid mostly just ‘round the bend
still knocked me down
but never took from me again!
i hear his laughter
sounds of dry gusts blowin’

my mama whispered his name
said he had a few
bigotry, prejudice, racism
angry names
couldn’t pronounce ‘em
even so when i was five
i understood.
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