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Woe is the old woman who hums and croons to soothe her sorrowful soul in Dolores Kendrick’s lyrical narrative of defiant struggle, Why The Woman Is Singing On The Corner. “It is the widow’s song,/the mother’s song,/the daughter’s song…the song of denial and hope,/the song of the next morning …” Kendrick’s latest book of verse borrows a bit from Shakespeare in telling the story of a modern-day Ophelia, who is drowning in a state of continual abandonment. Her mother discards her as a child, and a string of lovers leave her later in life. Ultimately, so does her dying sister. To passers-by, her constant chanting is a strange spectacle, but only through song does Phelia find faith. Kendrick, the District’s poet laureate, appears at 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s “Millennium Stage.” Free. (202) 467-4600. (Chris Shott)