Today’s event with poet, activist and feminist Nellie Wong was inspiring. I have not heard an eighty-one year old woman say cunt as casually as I heard her say it today, and I don’t think I will stop feeling grateful for her for it for some time to come.
Nellie Wong read poetry from several of her collections of poetry today, including poems about forced prostitution in countries like Thailand and Vietnam and a poem about her mother that expressed a longing for her scoldings as well as a poignant desire for the softness her mother endowed on strangers but not, as readily, her kin.
A poetry reading with Nellie Wong, it turns out, is much more like a delving into her whole being. She told anecdotes about her work as a secretary where supervisors would refer to her as “that Indian woman” or an instance where she was told to translate, even after she stated that the man she was being asked to provide a translation for was speaking Korean.
There is not a lack of issues, Nellie said, in response to a question about her experience with Feminism throughout the years and the state of women today.
Jezebel Delilah X, opened for Nellie Wong with two existence altering pieces about love and the selection of her performance name. As with all of JDX’s pieces, nothing is ever just about love or just about a name. Somehow, she manages to wrap an inordinate amount of history, references to other works, quotations and an impressive performance to her pieces. As a queer woman of color in her early 30’s with a day designated to her through the Town of Oakland for her contributions to the community, Jezebel Delilah X is an activist and creatrix made of the same determination, vision and talent as Nellie Wong.
To the power of voice and these two inspiring women!
Check out Nellie Wong’s latest collection of Poetry, Breakfast Lunch Dinner, and get more info on Radical Women, the Socialist Feminist Organization she is an active member of.