City Paper is not for tourists
thanks to sarah godfrey for her article on one of D.C.’s (via Baltimore’s) literary treasures, Laini Mataka (“I Usta Be Wanda Robinson,” 7/14).
For nearly 20 years I’ve been reading the works of Laini Mataka and using them to teach in classrooms from Lorton to Duke Ellington High School. The power of her words resonates, which makes the sampling of her poetry understandable for a generation seeking clarity, good writing, and a compassionate human voice. Her poetry was some of the first posted on iTunes.
As an instructor with DC WritersCorps, Laini Mataka has reached hundreds of people young and old in her classes. Thank God Black Classics Press founder Paul Coates continues to provide us with the opportunity to read her words.
I hope whoever is reproducing and selling her records mails the check they owe her for the recordings she did in the ’70s, and I hope some record executive realizes that Laini Mataka’s voice is more powerful and rhythmic today than it was 30 years ago.
Executive DirectorDC WritersCorps