Saturday, February 9, 2013

Honoring Alice

Happy Birthday, Alice Walker!

Did you know there's a documentary coming out about the inimitable poet, author, civil rights activist, and feminist?  Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth, a film by Pratibha Parmar, premieres in London March 10.  

                          (photo courtesy of Kali Films Ltd.)

Walker was the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction,for her novel The Color Purple, but she did not spring unformed as a writer into the public eye in 1982 with that book (or the movie made of it several years later).  I have loved Alice Walker’s poetry and prose since I was a high school student reading Ms. magazine and she was an editor there. (She contributed to more than 30 issues and appeared on the magazine’s cover).  Among her wonderful books: You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down (stories), The Temple of My Familiar, We are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For, and Possessing the Secret of Joy.  Often Walker’s writing tackles subjects hard to read about, but her unflinching eye and eloquent pen make the challenge worthwhile, because as the documentary title implies, her writing and her life embody beauty in truth.

Because for me the best of Alice Walker is her individual poems, articles, essays, and speeches, an early collection of them is my favorite of her books: In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose.  The title references an article I still remember vividly reading, "In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: The Creativity of Black Women in the South" in a 1974 issue of Ms. The writer speaks of the black women who came before her, and of her mother and the “legacy of respect she leaves to me, for all that illuminates and cherishes life. She had handed down respect for the possibilities - and the will to grasp them.”

                          (photo by Scott Campbell)

Today’s Gem of Grace in the Gray Areas:

Look closely at the present you are constructing:
it should look like the future you are dreaming.

                                    (Alice Walker)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Karen, I will look forward to seeing this documentary.