The Redmond Association of Spokenword (RASP) hosted its monthly gathering in a new meeting location at Los Pajaros Studio Gallery in Redmond on Feb. 22. This month, RASP hosted the award-winning author and poet, Gloria Burgess. Burgess read and shared from her new book, “Pass It On!”
In “Pass It On!,” Burgess tells the story about her father and his relationship with writer William Faulkner who generously paid for his college tuition and expenses with no strings attached.
As a young boy, Burgess’s father, Ernie, dreamed of a better life for his family in the segregated South in the 1930s. More than anything, he wanted to go to college. While working as a janitor at the University of Mississippi, Ernie expressed to a college professor his desire to go to college. After a series of events, her father met Faulkner who helped him pay for college, which led to him leaving the South and eventually emerging from poverty.
Burgess said she hopes the book resonates with people of all ages with its universal themes of gratitude, hope and possibility.
During a question and answer session, Burgess said her dream for “Pass It On!” is to invite children into reading and into literacy.
“I’m talking about children of all ages,” Burgess said at the gathering. “Because what I’ve learned with this book, [as I] keep putting it out into the world, is that it’s not for young readers only.”
Burgess added that her big wish is for everyone to learn how to read.
In regard to her book, “Dare To Wear Your Soul On the Outside,” the emcee of the night, Rose Gamble asked what advice or tip she would give for people to “wake up.”
“Be yourself. Theres only one you in all the world. [You] have a unique voice print, unique foot print and a unique soul print,” Burgess said. “And if you don’t bring who you are to the world, we won’t have it. Bring who you are to the table. We need you. We need your voice.”