Interviewed by Lisa Vihos, November 22, 2015
Through poetry, we learn that there is so much more that we have in common even if we have political or ideological differences. I became a poet when I read Carolyn Forche’s poem “The Colonel.” Ginsberg’s “Howl,” was gritty and real. Three inspirations for me: Kunitz, Forche, and Ginsberg. Max Rothschild quote: “If you look back over the past 100 years, you see how vital poetry has been to peace and justice.”
There is so much that we don’t give credit to in the arts.
Poetry is alive and well in Milwaukee. I love to hear young people say “I saw this poet and it changed my life.”
Whatever happens to me, I will be engaged in this on some level.
Poet/writer/activist Angela Trudell Vasquez has worked for the ACLU in Milwaukee for the last 10 years. One of her projects was the book, Cries for Justice – Poems for Dontre Hamilton (2016), which she co-edited with Margaret Rozga and Freesia McKee and published as Art Night Books, co-founded by Trudell Vasquez. The photo that accompanies this post was taken by Rozga after the book release at Woodland Pattern. “It was after over a year starting this project, and I was quite happy with the turnout and the book, and relaxed,” she says. Read about another of Trudell Vasquez’s projects, The Latina Monologues, in the Verse Wisconsin archive.
“Wisconsin Poetry Activists” is a flash interview series by Lisa Vihos, which grew out of research that she conducted for an article in Wisconsin People & Ideas, Turning on the Lights, Spring 2016.