We have much to thank Barbara Saxton for. A wonderful poet (one time featured reader here at Willow Glen!), she brought us, all the way from Texas, our July featured reader, Loretta Diane Walker. She introduced her with these words:
Like most of you, I love poetry, and while I try to give everything a chance, there are poets who affect me more than others — touch me deeply, made me understand things I didn’t know (or appreciate) before, help me go forward in the complex challenge of life. For me, Loretta Diane Walker has always been such a poet.
I’ve been Loretta’s friend and an enthusiastic admirer of her amazing body of work for quite some time; I was beyond honored when she asked me to write a jacket “blurb” for her second full book of poetry, In This House:
Loretta’s emails always close with the postscript “Life is a poem waiting to be written.” And, oh, what a life hers has been! Providing many generations of young children with the music education (and love) they crave and deserve, creating and sharing her own amazing poetry, standing up against injustice and prejudice, as well as supporting her family, friends, and even herself through bad times and health challenges! In her own words, Loretta dares not “run from love, power, time or magic.”
Loretta has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize, has published two full length poetry collections (which are available for purchase after this reading!), and her poetry has appeared in many, many anthologies and journals (including HER TEXAS, which featured 60 Texas women poets.) Loretta (for IN THIS HOUSE) is also this year’s winner of the prestigious Wheatley Award for poetry by African-American authors.
A few more accolades: “Loretta Diane Walker writes with compassionate wisdom and insight. Her poems restore humanity.” –Naomi Shihab Nye
“(Loretta’s) talent as a musician infuses her lines with a haunting musicality which compliments her mastery of image and diction. Walker’s poems glow on the page like candles in the darkness.” —Larry D. Thomas, 2008 Texas Poet Laureate
By all means, let’s stop listening to me and allow Loretta’s poetic candles set this room alight for us. It gives me such pleasure to introduce my friend and fellow poet from Odessa, Texas–Loretta Diane Walker!