Janice Gould was a Native American poet, teacher, editor, musician & activist, who died on June 28, 2019. Tonight Mimi Wheatwind, Janice’s spouse, joins Soapstone Board Members Ruth Gundle & Kathleen Worley, & Kristan Aspen & Janna MacAuslan, Janice’s partners in the musical Trio Pan Dulce, in memories of Janice and sharing her music and poetry. Barbara LaMorticella hosts.
Janice was an American Indian of complicated genealogy, part Concow Maidu, a tribe whose territory was northern California, and part British, French, and Irish. Janice grappled early with issues of identity and self-worth. Like her mother, Janice had one foot in the sophisticated academic and cultural world of Berkeley, and the other, her spiritual foundation, in the stunning beauty of her ancestral land, and in the Indian culture she both experienced and researched. Gould’s themes are love, loneliness, longing for connection, family, history and place; her poetry is a journey of discovery, grounding and blossoming her own sexual, spiritual and artistic self.
THE GIRL I USED TO BE - Janice Gould
I was the girl who backed into life,
got lost, then disappeared again
under tables and in drawers,
between unused tools hung
on dusty pegs, among red lines
etched on imaginary maps.
In Spring I watched waxwings sway
drunkenly among sour berries
and found myself pushed north with them
in torn clouds, landing where rhododendrons grow
on wet hillsides, and larkspur pokes
from granite waving small blue flags.
I was the girl who bucked hay, split wood,
tore the ragged face of earth with the harrow’s teeth,
who tried to toughen up in leather boots and haying chaps,
who disappeared in snow or rain,
beat her fists on windshields, but
survived by singing late into the night,
driving deserted streets
while everyone else was wasted.
I was the girl who seldom spoke,
who slept alone fully clothed, ready to bolt
into the startled dawn. I was the girl who,
enticed by stones, one day plunged into
a clear Sierra creek, and rose gasping
from that brutal stream, terrified,
but absolutely clean.
Janice Gould from “The Force of Gratitude,” Headmistress Press 2017
Janice Gould’s poetry has been published in over 60 journals and magazines. A musician as well as a poet, Janice played guitar and accordion, and helped to found Trio Pan Dulce, a Portland, Oregon-based group that played tangos, flamenco, French Café music, and Latin American Folk music.
Janice was an associate professor in Women’s and Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, where she developed and directed the concentration in Native American Studies. Her many awards include those from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Astraea Foundation for Lesbian Writers, the Pikes Peak Arts Council, and from the online publication Native Literatures: Generations. She earned a PhD in English at the University of New Mexico and an MLS from the University of Arizona,
The newest of her 5 books of poetry, "Seed", was published in 2019 by Headmistress Press, and her recently edited “A Generous Spirit: Selected Work by Beth Brant,” is forthcoming from Sinister Wisdom and Inanna Publications and Education Inc.