Providing grants, programs, and services to the artists and audiences of Tompkins County for over 25 years

Meet 2017 Tompkins County Poet Laureate- Zee Zahava

The Community Arts Partnership proudly introduces our 2017 Poet Laureate, Zee Zahava !

For the past 35 years Zee Zahava has been advocating and celebrating writers of all ages in organized public readings, writing workshops and print and on-line publications. First. as the owner of Smedley's Bookshop; then as the outreach librarian for the Durland Alternatives Library, and now as the director of her own writing studio on West State Street. Over the years Zee has led many different kinds of writing workshops at the Tompkins County Public Library, including the "Teens Write!" program, "Poetry for the People," Haiku, memoir writing and innovative inter-generational workshops. Zee's gentle guidance and fierce determination have led many aspiring writers to find and share their voice. Ithaca is indeed very fortunate to have a writer, teacher and advocate like Zee as our 2017 Poet Laureate!

"2017 is going to be  a challenging year for us. Staying connnected with one another, building bonds of community,recognizing and celebrating all expressions of artistic spirit-these things will inspire us, strengthen us, enliven us. I plan to dedicate my effort to bringing people together to share their stories, to listen deeply to one another, and to be enriched by one another. It is an honor to pursue these intentions as the Tompkins County Poet Laureate." Zee Zahava


You Seem to be You

you seem to be you and I seem to be me —
but who knows?
is it possible we are apple seeds in the same sweet apple?
or hats perched atop mannequins in a shop window
in oooh-lala-Paris?

and if we are hats
then I want to have a wide brim with a floppy purple flower
(a peony?) hanging down the right side
and you can be whatever kind of hat you want to be
I am not feeling especially bossy today

but I will say this
if it turns out you are not you
and I am not me
and we are neither apple seeds
nor bird feathers
nor woven rugs
nor roller skates
nor pine trees . . .
if you are not you and I am not me
and we are two different people
who don't yet know each other

then my biggest wish
is for us to meet one day
and recognize some unmistakable spark
to be drawn together by a bright light
or a pleasant smell
or a strong vibration
or a single musical note
it could be anything
as long as we connect again
(or would it be considered the first time?)

what other reason would there be
to get up in the morning


With thanks to Terrence Keenan for his poem "A Sweetness Appears and Prevails." His opening lines ("The reason we bother/ to get up in the morning") and the phrase toward the end ("You seem to be you/ and I seem to be me") led me into my poem