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Crosscurrents

Poet James Cagney doesn’t hold back on loss and love

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Courtesy of James Cagney
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Poet James Cagney was 19 when he found out he was adopted. A few years later, both of his parents passed away, and Cagney was left homeless. He reflects on this heavy time in his collection "Black Steel Magnolias in the Hour of Chaos Theory.

"These poems are sort of like prayers to help me release the tension and confusion that I have with certain elements of my life."

Cagney is now 50 and blogs at The Dirty Rat. He’s been revered in the Bay Area literary community for many years, but this is his first published full collection.

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Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She hosts the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds and covers East Oakland for KALW. Jenee has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.