Just as a scientist investigates the nature of things using the scientific method, a poet investigates the nature of things using the poetic method. The chemist boils down elemental particles like the poet boils feelings and thoughts into words. And just as we are all born curious, we are all born creative. Kenya’s work argues that the poet’s work may be just as important as the scientist’s.
I once went to one of Kenya’s poetry readings. For the first few minutes, the unsettled audience in the small restaurant did not know where she was. We all waited nervously. Finally, Kenya walked through a cheering crowd, opened her book, and began to dictate her lyrical art. The crowd went quiet and her poetry was a huge hit. I couldn’t have dreamt then that I would be able to sit with her and record a conversation years later.
Today, Kenya and her partner are raising a beautiful girl in California. Her eloquence and motherliness are wonderful to observe. As we walked she told us about their plans to move outside the U.S. “Davis is nice,” she said, “But I’d like to experience something different soon.” For now, though, Kenya and her family will enjoy the beautiful town and the community she’s built here.