About His Work
Poet, Playwright, Translator
The Poetic Lines Program hosted by Elizabeth Lund on Hopkinton TV
In January 2013, Weaver discussed The Government of Nature with Poetic Lines host, Elizabeth Lund in Hopkinton, Massachusetts
Blues in Five/Four, the Violence in Chicago
--awarded a Pushcart Prize for 2013
published in Ibbetson Street Press
In movies about the end of our civilization
toys fill the broken spaces of cities, flipping over
in streets where children are all hoodlums, big kids
painting themselves in neon colors, while the women
laugh, following the men into a love of madness.
Still shots show emptiness tearing the eyes of the last
of us who grew to be old, the ones the hoodlums
prop up in shadows, throwing garbage at us,
taping open our eyes, forcing us to study the dead
in photos torn from books in burned down libraries.
Chicago used to be Sundays at Gladys' Luncheonette
where church folk came and ate collard greens and chicken
after the sermons that rolled out in black churches, sparkling
tapestries of words from preachers' mouths, prayer books,
tongues from Tell Me, Alabama, and Walk On, Mississippi.
Now light has left us, the sun blocked out by shreds
of what history becomes when apathy shreds it,
becoming a name the bad children give themselves
as they laugh and threaten each other while we starve
for the laughter we were used to before the end came.
---Afaa M. Weaver 蔚雅風
Pushcart prize 2013
first published in Ibbetson Street Press
Editors: Doug Holder, Dianne Robitaille, Richard Wilhelm
Advisory Editor: Harris Gardner
(from The Government of Nature)
The lines that make you are infinite, but I count them
every day to hear the stories you carry. These are not secrets
but records, things we should know but ignore. If I commit
the sin of tearing you from the tree, I find another world
inside the torn vein, another lifetime of counting the records
of who walked here before, of what lovers lay here
holding each other through wars and starvation.
Some days I stand here until I lose focus and travel,
drifting off out of the moment, too full of it, and my legs
are now like trees, mindless but vigilant, held
into the earth by the rules of debt, what we owe
to nature for trying to tear ourselves away. I drift
and the pleasure of touch comes again, layers of green
in the mountainside a tickling in my palms.
The pleasure is that of being lost here in the crowd
of trunks and pulp, the ground thick with the death of you,
sinking under my feet as I go, touching one and another,
linking myself through until the place where I entered
is gone. When I am afraid, my breath is caught in my throat.
When I am not afraid, I lift both hands up under a bunch
of you to find the way the world felt on the first day.
published in Orion magazine
CRITICAL QUOTES REGARDING WEAVER'S WORK
What the sages know is what Weaver submitted himself to learning from the time of his childhood, a black kid exposed to both city and country in the last days of segregation...The book (The Plum Flower Dance) is that rare bird, both weightless and profound...It simply understands, as St. Teresa of Avila understood when she counseled "let nothing perturb you," that there is no gain in desperation."
East Providence Post
November 30, 2007
"Weaver finds a place in the legacy of Whitman and the mid-nineteenth century when in the evolution of American poetry the glory of vernacular speech first became fused in verse with an inspired sense of the American self, sensuous and yet transcendent...(He) has made himself into a virtuoso in his manipulations of vernacular form. Poems such as "Mojo Mamba" and "Piggly Wiggly"--Rabelasian sendups of black American phallocentric humor...are composed so deftly that one is brought up short when the exaggeration and the laughter stop and the meditative voice and rhythms return to serve the poet's more intimate needs. His vision is local and focused, and as befits a poet of genuine depth and seriousness of purpose, it is as wide as the horizon itself. Weaver's depiction of black culture clearly emerges from a profound love of black people."
from preface to "Multitudes"
"Fanon said, '...to speak is to assume a culture and to bear responsibility for a civilization.' Afaa Michael Weaver has done that in his poems. This poet has been to the "carnival in the city" and returned with the knowledge that the country is alive because of his benedictions."
writing on "Multitudes" 2000
"The Michael S. Weaver play “Rosa”...works magic on the soul...Eugene O”Neill’s “A Moon for the Misbegotten” kept coming to mind as this play unfolded...I think my connection had more to do with O’Neill’s sovereign sense of drama--a quality Weaver, a poet of some consequence, also evidenced in his writing here.”
The Philadelphia Daily News
June 8, 1993
“The spirit of the late William Inge inhabits the weather-beaten house, the rose-covered arbor, and the people in search of connection in Michael S. Weaver’s Rosa...”
Clifford A. Ridley
The Philadelphia Inquirer
June 5, 1993
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum
African American History & Culture in Baltimore
The New England Poetry Club awarded Weaver the 2009 May Sarton Award for his service to the art of poetry and for serving as an inspiration to fellow poets. Weaver shared the award with Fred Marchant of Suffolk University.
Weaver's poem "American Income" (first published in Poetry magazine). Wins 2008 Pushcart Prize--a press release from Simmons College in Boston, where Weaver holds an endowed chair
CAREER NARRATIVE AND RESUME (93.0KB)