No matter how she tried, Norma Koontz, the guest artist at today’s First Friday Poetry Reading, couldn't completely avoid writing about discrimination. ''I have tried hard not to be identified as a black poet, so I've always avoided race topics,'' she tells us, but she found she couldn't avoid discussing prejudice altogether. ''Somebody said, 'The more you ignore the elephant in the room, the bigger he becomes.' I've been looking at experiences in my life and I found that more than being discriminated against because I was black, I've been shortcut by being female. I told somebody I was going to paint my house one day, and they said, 'You can't paint no house; you're a girl.' Nobody ever told me I couldn’t paint a house because I was black.''
Koontz, who was born in the late 1930s, also addresses other issues she experiences in her daily life. ''When I was raising children, [my writing] was usually about them. In the last two years, I've started a new romance and that is taking up a lot of my time and attention.''
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8:30 p.m. Inprint House, 1520 West Main. For information, call 713-521-2026 or visit inprinthouston.org. Free.
Fri., May 3, 8:30 p.m., 2013