Anke Hodenpijl is an Indo-Dutch poet residing in Bakersfield, California.
It was the summer of 1952 when sniper bullets and a threatening note pinned to the front door convinced Anke’s parents to leave Indonesia. “Leave, or next time our bullets will not miss our target,” the note said. Her patriarchal lineage traced her family to Dutch Colonial roots at least as far back as the 1600s. Within three days, they packed and left during one of the most significant migrations in Dutch history. Three months after leaving the only home her family knew, Anke Hodenpijl was born in the small coastal community of Borsele, Netherlands. Her anticipated birth became an event in this farming community, having never witnessed firsthand, the birth of a dark-skinned baby. Imagine their surprise when she popped out, in her parents’ upstairs bedroom, white as the milk these dairy farmers produced. At the get-go, she was different, the youngest of four children. Six years later, the family immigrated to Phoenix, Arizona. The experience of discrimination deepened, watching her mother fight for equal justice at work. As a youngster, she listened to restaurant owners’ questions about whether her family should be allowed into their establishment. Several educators labeled her academics as inferior based only on her immigration status, not her accomplishments. She was lucky to have a school counselor rectify the injustices. Caring people and poetry always helped her connect to the better endeavors of humanity even then. As a member of the Writers of Kern, the California Writers Club, the Thresh-old Choir, and the local Art and Spirituality Center, Anke has been able to help form healing communities. She facilitates guided writing groups and a Poetry Workshop-Critique Group. As an alumna of the Tupelo Truchas Poetry Conference, the Rattle Poetry Conference, Ann Lamott Writing Workshop, and Ellen Bass Craft Talks, she continues her journey as a poet. This summer, she was fortunate enough to read with Dorothy Randall Gray’s Poetry Group, “Still We Rise” and, the Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon. Every voice heard represented resilience, power, and strength. In these very challenging times, Anke’s prayer is that we stay woke.