Patricia Jabbeh Wesley | Blogh

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

Posted By on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Week's end brings two free readings by the well-regarded area poet best known for works about her homeland, Liberia, whose civil war she survived before emigating to the U.S.

Her fourth book, Where the Road Turns, is new from Pittsburgh-based Autumn House Press. In it, Wesley returns to the timeless theme of people who have lost home. In "Been Wandering Too Long: A Song," she writes:

Been wandering so long, I'm like the antelope
whose leap is only in the desire for flight,
but a leap often mistaken for the harvest dance.
So what if I came wandering because somehow,
someone taught hard about this world
before setting my town on fire,
before tearing the roots out of the roots
of what used to be my home?

Much of Wesley's work is about war, of course -- based on her own experiences and on interviews she's conducted with women victims of the conflict.

Yet other poems in the book address the violence of people wrenched from home by things like urbanization. "One day my wife, Cheede, will run away / to Monrovia, that swallows its victims whole / down boa-constrictor bellies," says the speaker of one such verse.

Wesley teaches at Penn State Altoona. She reads tonight, Thu., Oct. 21, at Downtown's August Wilson Center in a program titled "Impact of Violence on a Community." The reading is at 7 p.m. The first 120 attendees will receive a free copy of Where the Road Turns (

On Fri., Oct. 22, Wesley joins visiting poet George Bilgere in a reading at CCAC's Allegheny Campus (on the second floor of the Forester Student Center Building, on Ridge Avenue, North Side). The CCAC reading is at 1:30 p.m.

Bilgere, who teaches at John Carroll University, in Cleveland, has a new collection too, The White Museum, also on Autumn House. 




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