The following interview of Carolyn Howard-Johnson by Lois P. Jones originally aired on KPFK Los Angeles (reproduced with permission). (Download MP3)
Biographical Information—Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Accepted for Poets & Writers prestigious list of published poets, award-winning novelist and poet Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list “14 San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts. One of her poems won the Franklin Christoph poetry prize and she has chosen it to include in this post. She was an instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program for nearly a decade. Learn more about all her books at bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.
A dragon, hiding as dragons
do, to pounce upon prey, shock
them into submission with forked
tongue, spiked tail, blue-green
scales, brimstone breath. But not
a sea dragon, this—nearly misnamed
disguises herself in briney
fronds, sways with the current.
her delicate horn-shaped
snout trumpets silence.
Long like a dragon,
long as a water-lily stem,
slick. She flourishes
her leaf-like fins, the translucent
shade of her underwater forest
of amber seaweed pads, exactly,
matches her dance to that of the kelp
—ballet in slow motion
so the visitor to her underocean
home will not see her. She will take
them by surprise