by Ayo Khensu-Ra |
I cringe at the sight of myself, especially on video, so it was quite by accident that I recently
came across a video of a Forum reading in Rosenberg Library’s room 304 I attended some time
last year. The spring semester in 2010 was my first stint with Forum and this is probably my
last. Seeing that video made me think about time, about the things that have changed and the
things that haven’t. In the room, among others, was one of my teachers, Alexandra Teague, one
of my future teachers, and fellow Forum staffer Katie Dalla who I’ve worked a lot with during
my time at Forum. There was also what was to me the notable absence of one of my classmates.
At the time I was in the midst of an unexpected interest new in poetry. To be honest, I didn’t have
much use for poetry for a long time but gradually, over what was probably a few years, my
interest grew and in the fall of 2009 I signed up for CCSF’s poetry creative writing class, English
35C/D taught by Ms. Teague. While I thought the class might be interesting, I didn’t expect to
love reading or writing poetry as much as I came to on those Tuesdays and Thursdays that fall
and spring — fall and spring because I and seven others took the class back-to-back semesters
over 2009 and 2010. I can only speak for myself but I think our teacher’s clear passion and
enthusiasm for the subject played a big part in the return of the eight of us — while the class
definitely was a class, it was also a lot of fun. In addition it was, for me, an introduction to a new
way to write which was very exciting.
Around the same time I was also drawn into the orbit of Forum. If English 35C/D was
fascinating and exciting, English 14 — the class that produces Forum — was perhaps not as
fun, was perhaps more of a grind, being a three-hour night class but was and is interesting
and rewarding. Naturally I was part of the group within the staff that reviewed the poetry
submissions we received. In addition, I was the blog editor, a role I must say I groped through
a bit. While there’s a lot one can do with a blog, I wasn’t sure just what to do. Most of the posts
were fairly official, information posts, some poetry from staff members, reviews and the like.
After a fall without English 14, Forum returned in the spring and so did I. There was a new blog
team — Joseph Ramelo and Jessica Mejia. Under their watch, there were a lot of changes to
the blog, redesigns and a new name; what had been merely the Forum blog became Boeotia.
Joseph — or Joe as we came to know him — and Jessica were also members of what proved to
be a thoroughly engaging poetry group along with Katie, last semester’s poetry editor, Jenna
Mendola and Sarah Woods. It was a joy to work with them.
I was recently in Rosenberg 304 again. Xochiquetzal Candelaria, who is teaching English 35C/
D this semester, read that day. I wondered what it would be like to take a poetry class again, how
much it would be like the last one. Ms. Teague is no longer at City College; some of those I took
her class with have also moved on. My missing classmate is now thousands of miles away. I’m
the only one from last semester’s poetry group still at Forum. There are of course still a lot of
great people at the magazine both new and returning, but things have inevitably changed as they
always do semester to semester, month to month, year to year.
I’ve been thinking about time as I said. I would have liked to done more with Boeotia by this
point in the semester — there’s not that much time left — but hopefully that will change as of
now. I see Boeotia as a voice for the staff of Forum among other things, so hopefully you’ll be
hearing from the rest of the staff a bit and not just me. In addition, you should be hearing a bit more from this blog in general — things you’ve seen before — reviews, the lowdown on Forum
related events etc. but also the literary stories of those of us at Forum and perhaps those of you
outside of Forum because, as the name implies, Forum isn’t some august institution that gives
a platform to only the anointed few — it’s a place for the CCSF community to be heard. Soon
Boeotia will be under the stewardship of someone else, but there is much to be blogged before
then so stay tuned.