Friday, October 9, 2009

City of Berkeley Honors Poet & Artist Rafael Jesús González

Photo © Jannie M. Dresser
City of Berkeley
Honors Poet & Artist Rafael Jesús González
Tuesday, October 13, 2009, 7 p.m.
Berkeley City Hall Council Chambers
at Martin Luther King Jr. Way between Allston Way and Center Street in downtown Berkeley
SF Poetry Examiner
By Jannie Dresser

An old hand-bound, brown leather book contains the poems that his mother, Carmen, typed and read from when he was a boy. Its pages are yellowed and thin but contain poems that he has loved all his life by classical Spanish and Latin American poets: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Juan De Dios Peza, Gabriela Mistral, Amada Nervo, and Rubén Darío among others. This early contact with literature meant that Berkeley poet Rafael Jesús González has “been writing all my life.”

On October 13, at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers, the City of Berkeley will honor González for his contributions to the local community. For someone who describes himself as “something of a hermit,” González has long been active in progressive politics and the creative arts throughout the Bay Area. His political passions are focused on environmental and social justice issues, while a career in writing and literature has inspired many others to use their pens for both personal expression and political action. But, González is also a visual and performance artist. For many years, he has been the elder in a Latino men’s ritual group, Xochipilli, which sets the ceremonial tone for Oakland Museum of California’s annual Dia de Los Muertos festivities. González has contributed several art installations to the museum’s “ofrenda“ displays marking the indigenous celebration, also creating installations for the Mexican Museum and the Mission Cultural Center both in San Francisco.

Complete article can be read at the SF Poetry Examiner.

1 comment:

Francisco Aragón said...

Thank you for posting this Oscar! It was a pleasure to read. Would be nice to see his work in print again. I wasn't aware of it.