Maureen Owen was born in Graceville, Minnesota and grew up on a farm and the California racetrack circuit, where her parents worked as horse trainers. She attended Seattle University and San Francisco State University before moving to Japan in 1965 to study Zen Buddhism.
Upon her return to the US, she moved to New York City. Owen is usually associated with the New York School and spent several years as Program Coordinator at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in NYC as well as working as editor for the literary magazine Telephone.
Owen has published a total of 10 collections of poetry so far. She now lives in Denver and teaches at Naropa University.
My poem below takes its inspiration from Owen’s poem of the same title.
~ - ~
Ni moto. With the sun at an awkward
angle as we sit on the terrace in the afternoon. You
pour a cup of English breakfast and I pour the milk slowly.
Salted on white Prussian porcelain
and heavy mvule wood. Kenya is
thirty years ago: Na sikuwa hata hai.
I grew up here in white porcelain faded colours
from images of zebras in the hall. Why do
you live away now always?
Are you coming home soon now?
“ Hakuna, mama.
Moyo wangu haiwezi
kutulia hapa. “