The Grating of America: Poems for a Democracy Ground Down by Judith S. Offer
The new book of poems, “The Grating of America: Poems for a Democracy Ground Down” by Judith S. Offer includes editorial cartoons by Nick Anderson as she walks the humorous road following the orange president’s trajectory in taking down democracy.
Her opening poem asks:
“What sort of swamp monster have we now
That clumpfs his mud across our golden prairie,
Down our constitution, over our independence?”
These are same questions we hear being asked at the current Senate impeachment trial of January 2020 when this interview was held. In our conversation, Judith Offer describes her poetic techniques, reads some of her poems, and explains why she included the cartoons. As a cartoonist’s daughter, I was very interested since poetry and cartooning are seldom bedfellows. I find that her little chapbook is very cathartic for the horrible thoughts some of us are having as we contemplate what a Trump victory in November 2020 could mean for the country, our planet, and species, thoughts we try to push aside as we go about our daily lives. Will endless wars and rape of the earth in the name of profits be our legacy to our descendants? Will national parks become hunting grounds, oil fields, and lumber camps, and then deserts? Will our democratic institutions evolve into a fascist corporate state? Perhaps it is only though humor and irony that such thoughts can be faced.
Judith Offer has raised two daughters, published five books of poetry and written eighteen plays. She has read her poetry at scores of poetry venues, is included in the Library of Congress series, and in “All Things Considered” on NPR.
Her writing reflects her childhood in a large Catholic family, her experience as teacher, community organizer, musician, historian, gardener, and all-purpose volunteer. She is especially fascinated with her roles as wife and mother. Currently she is working on a history play about Susan B. Anthony. She lives in Oakland, California, with her husband, Stuart.
I hope in presenting this interview, we are all moved to get out the vote to Dump Trump and share this widely with family and friends.
About Nina Serrano: Nina Serrano is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 85 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to ninaserrano.com or contact her publisher at estuarypress.com. For more detailed information about Nina see About Nina on her website.
About Estuary Press: Estuary Press is the publisher of Nicaragua Way. It is also the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive, a repository of photography and video documentaries of various social change and political movements during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact Paul Richards (510) 967 5577, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit estuarypress.com for more details.