Elissa and Pat

Elissa Perry and Pat Parker

“Pat is the long lost favorite Aunt I never met. She is my rock star, longed for and better left in myth.” – Elissa Perry

Elissa G. Perryñwriter, performer, educator, agitator, geek and weak-kneed for big brainsñis of African and Choctaw descent. When she first encountered the words of Pat Parker, something shifted that could not be shifted back. She hopped in a car leaving the Midwest and bound for the West two years later with a fresh haircut and $200. Elissa is committed to attempting work that causes people to ask questions and to seek answers to those questions, and to keep asking questions. She lives in San Francisco with her life partner/best-and-only girl. She has published several short stories, interviews and other pieces in anthologies, journals and magazines including Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sounds, Black Silk, Beyond Definition and Girlfriend Number One.

Pat Parker was born in Houston Texas to a working class family January 20, 1944 and died of breast cancer June 19, 1989. In her 45 short years, she changed many lives with her fearless poetry. In 1978 Audre Lorde introduced Parker’s poetry collection Movement in Black with a memory. “On the last night of my first trip to the West Coast in 1969, I walked into a room and met a young Black poet with fire in her eyes, a beer in her hand and a smile/scowl on her face. There were poems in her mouth, on the tables, in the refrigerator, under the bed, and in the way she cast about the apartment, searching for–not answers–but rather, unexpressable questions. We were both Black; we were Lesbians; we were both poets, in a very white, straight, male world, and we sat up all night trading poems.”

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Archive for Pat Parker created by Elissa Perry

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Mouth to Mouth (2010)
38″ x 74.5″ x 12″
mixed media bed installation