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First Person: Veterans Museum's Poet Laureate On Honoring All Who Served

November 6, 2017 1:18 p.m.

First Person: Veterans Museum's Poet Laureate On Honoring All Who Served


Alyce Smith-Cooper, poet laureate, Veterans Museum at Balboa Park

Related Story: First Person: Veterans Museum's Poet Laureate On Honoring All Who Served


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

Saturday is Veterans Day in a day to remember and honor those Web server this country. About 240,000 veterans live in San Diego county because part of our first-person series we are checking in with a woman that has been reflecting on the contributions of the veteran community and their families. The museum in Balboa Park has named Alyce Smith-Cooper as the first poet laureate. Here she is reading her poem military family.Fascinating when sun touches you in skin. It's warm no matter the color. Fascinating when rain falls Albany's a wish washed swished wet with the fall. Fascinating when sorrow approaches each heart touched and ate, bleeds. When love interests every spirit lives. Fascinating when joy abounds every had springs the rat, shoulders squared, fascinating when a bugle sounds ears mind body alerted everything goes into focus. Fascinating when the drumbeats in the throbbing hearts align recognizing a source the vibrating voice of God. Fascinating when danger threatens our peace, our military family, armed in-flight on foot sailing or submerged alerted, United comes from all four directions. Responding to our unified outcry bulging eyes, gaping mouths demand a health field -- filled world where we can live together as one people. Fascinating how forceful actions can initiate peace. When conscience spirit soar in pursuit of divine source of unity. Thank you to our military family.That terminology came about as a result of the birth of my first grandson. Along with that has come many other phases of my life in which somehow other people need to give you a title for. A wife, a daughter, granddaughter, mother. I was a registered nurse and I still am a registered nurse., Ordained minister in the African Methodist church. I'm a poet but through all of it, the golden thread is a storytelling because nothing happens until the story gets told. I often write early in the morning and when the world is still new, as I call it. I was thinking of how we try to separate our experiences on this earth based upon the color of our skin or the feelings that were having. When he gets right down to the bottom of it, we respond in very similar ways according to our filters in our culture. Nonetheless, I suspect that in China when the sun shines Chinese skins are warmed and when it rains, they get wet. That is what I was thinking. There's a reality in all that we experience in what we are overlooking when we get stuck of whatever will serve agenda of people who are not out for the whole and unity. I grew up when there was still the draft and so there were many people in my family who served in the military including my grandmother. She was in the women's Army Corps in church for a short time. More recently my husband who is now deceased is in the was in the Marines. I was not a Marine wife because we were not married at that time but all the experiences that he had until the time I was married and until his death impacted me and my family. So the things that he experienced that were joyful to him, we experience them too. The things that he experienced that were damaging to him we also experienced those. That is what I want to address with military families is that we have not honored the families at all in the ways that they served in the wives and children did not go marching off. They certainly experience the impact of whatever their fighting family member experienced. So to be able to bring those people in and to honor their service in the paygrades. Paygrades that most of the people during my era were able to experience the cooks, the people that every day and listed people who didn't have an opportunity to be officers and people of color and the unacknowledged.I'm looking for to bring together artist from all over the county at least the county of all nationalities, gender preferences that have had experience with the military and are willing to share their gifts. I think any effort to heal in this day can be utilized because there's so much that needs healing.That was Alyce Smith-Cooper. She is also the co-author of the book the gumbo pot poems. This was produced by Marissa.Still had the glow for all takes shape spear -- Shakespeare to places it's never been before.