WSS Poetry Workshop: Remembering Joe Brainard


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Women of Street Sense (WSS) conducted its first poetry workshop on Feb. 15. The workshop paid tribute
to Joe Brainard’s literary piece “I Remember.” Participants of the workshop were given the opportunity to read aloud and examine segments of Brainard’s memoir. They were then asked to create a poem of their own inspired by the author’s work.

Who was Joe Brainard? Brainard was an American artist, poet and writer born on March 11, 1941, in Salem, Ark., who grew up in Tulsa, Okla. At the age of 19, he moved to New York City and joined the Community of New York School Poets and Painters who later became his creative posse, including Ted Berrigan, Frank O’Hara, Ron Padgett, Kenward Elmslie and John Ashbery.

Brainard is best known for his 1975 groundbreaking lyrical prose-poem memoir, “I Remember.” Many critics of this piece consider it a very original and practical body of work. His memoir inspires many poets and serves as a framework for educators in poetry exercises and workshops.

In 1994, Brainard died of AIDS-related pneumonia at the age of 52.

A special thanks goes out to vendors Gwynette Smith and Sylvia Randolph for attending and participating in the poetry workshop. Smith and Randolph wrote poems inspired by “I Remember.” These women truly came out to be inspired and to let their creative juices flow! WSS meetings are held every third Wednesday of the month from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

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