the louderARTS Project

Turiya Autry of Good Sista|Bad Sista

Named after Alice Coltrane, Turiya was destined at birth to fulfill the meaning of her name: transcendental, nirvanic and super-consciousness, in a spectrum of activities.

No stranger to a stage, she first claimed her space in the spotlight at the age of 8 as a political performance poet, decrying animal rights abuses. Since that stellar debut, Turiya has graced stages all along the west coast, sharing her words and visions on bull horn and microphone alike.

While in high school she delved into media; creating videos and hosting radio shows, and writing and reading PSAs for local radio. She continued to explore these mediums by writing for KOIN 6 news, producing video segments for Oregon Public Broadcasting, writing and appearing in PSU's Capstone program orientation video as well as producing and appearing on various Public Access productions.

After sharing a stage with her, Hillary Clinton described Turiya as having "grit and determination". That same drive has led her to host open mics and poetry readings throughout Portland for over three years.

"I see writing and sharing as a tool of empowerment, and I try to provide spaces where many voices can be heard."

Turiya is the current slammaster for Portland, Oregon, and hosts bi-monthly open-mic/competitive readings. In the summer of 2000 she traveled to Rhode Island representing Portland at the National Poetry Slam competitions, and ranked in the top third of the 250 competing poets. She has appeared on numerous radio shows as well as the Discovery Channel's Tourist Sow.

Turiya 's experience speaks to a wide range of talent. Over the last ten years, she has taught on various levels: in preschools, through writing residencies in the Portland Public Schools, 3 years of college courses at PSU, as well as workshops on topics ranging from computer skills to Art as a Tool of Resistance.

Having collaborated with hip hop artists such as The Coup, Black Anger, and Life Savas, Turiya flexes her lyrical as well as musical talents. Author of In The Beginning... and co-author of Sista/Bad Sista: Can You Tell the Difference?

turiyais@aol.com
poetryoffthepage.com




White Canvas

My mother used to paint
easel standing in the front room by the windows
wooden box to the side,
overflowing with contorted tubes of oils.

My mother used to paint
covering fresh stretched canvas in lacquer
gazing at magazine clippings of plants and places
that covered the dining room table.

My mother used to paint
rows of potted flowers on countertops
the adobe red clay roofed missions of Carmel
scenic pictorials of ocean waves.

My mother used to paint
until she would get frustrated or stuck
gazing at the Mission's quiet beauty
knowing its secret
built on the bodies of the indigenous
who died for what they would not believe
She couldn't finish painting the irony of Native American bodies
hanging in the brick paved courtyards of Catholicism
so she painted over the entire canvas in thick white
and went back to florals.

My mother used to paint
such a perfectionist
she didn't realize the beauty of her work
covering them over
beginning again
a cycle repeated every season
when the new idea overshadowed the last

My mother used to paint
and all her great works
lie buried under white paint
on a single canvas.



© Turiya Autry



. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .