by Erika Ayón
From: Women Who Submit
It began 12 years ago, the concept for my poetry collection Orange Lady. It was 2006, that summer I had gone to VONA (Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation) in San Francisco, where I had taken a writing workshop with Chris Abani. At VONA, I connected with writers who also lived in Los Angeles, and upon my return, through them, I learned about Ruth Forman’s poetry workshops. It was in these workshops held at Ruth’s home in Los Angeles surrounded by willow trees and included Tai Chi lessons taught by her that the poetry collection came to me. Ruth always showed immense compassion toward our writing process and lovingly gave us permission to just write. That permission to just write sparked this emotional surge in me, and I wrote without care or judgment, with pure reckless abandonment. It was in these workshops that I began compiling the poems that would ultimately become part of my first poetry collection Orange Lady.