DC Poet Laureate Dolores Kendrick passed away at her home in Southwest DC on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 7 at the age of 90. She had just completed a manuscript for most recent work, to be entitled Rainbow on Fire. Best known for The Women of Plums: Poems in the Voices of Slave Women (1989), Kendrick served as DC poet laureate since 1999. Her works have inspired public art in the District, including at 9th and G Streets NW and outside of the NoMa Metro Station. Kendrick’s legacy extends far beyond her written words, having played an integral part in the opening of a School Without Walls here in DC, and also teaching for 20 years at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.

Her legacy and ability to connect with people from all walks of life have been well documented in the days since her death. However, her role here in Southwest was even greater to those who knew her beyond her laurels and professional accomplishments. Kendrick was known to many as a friend and mentor. To this end, The Southwester remembers Kendrick with her own words, hoping that they will continue to inspire and enrich lives.

“Epoch”

We are
flesh and blood
steel and skin
struggling within
a linear light
toward one heartbeat
that forges
a sacred space,
an entrance
to our fragile
dreams that rise
upon a muscle
of memory
and wind.

—Dolores Kendrick

(Sept. 7 1927 – Nov. 7 2017)

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