Edited to add: There is a memorial for Toni this Sunday, April 27, at the Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia -- 230 Vine Street, Philadelphia , PA 19106 from 2 to 4, people are invited to bring memories, photos of Toni they may have, and light refreshments to share. Her family will be there. There is info on parking and directions in a comment below.
I saw the following information, with more of Toni's strong, strong poetry, here.
Toni Brown Memorials
Friday, April 25, 2008
Trinity Episcopal Church
3 Goddard Avenue
My friend, writer Toni Brown, has died. She's the beautiful African American woman in the middle in the picture above, which was taken the last time I saw her, at a reading in Northampton two and a half years ago.
I just heard this, and can barely believe it. Toni had such gorgeous, generous habits. Once, when we were in a tiny plane to Philadelphia to do a reading -- we did that, we had a reading in Northampton for a Philadelphia feminist writers group, and they held a reading in Philadelphia for us, mostly, I think, through Toni's wide network of friends, but also because we'd been running into each other at the OutWrite conference in Boston. So we were crammed into these way too small seats on a little plane that was bouncing with the weather, and when I told Toni I was sorry for taking up some of her scarce room, she leaned closer, snuggled in, and said, "Yum," or words to that effect. That is probably the best moment that I have ever had on a plane in my life.
After Toni moved to Philadelphia, she put me up more than once when I was travelling through to give readings. She introduced me when I read at Giovanni's Room after a Nolose conference. I know that some of the folks on my friendslist were there, so you might remember her. After the reading (it's one that kind of shimmers in my mind as intense and intimate), she and Janet Mason walked with me to the car. Toni had brought a copy of my book, Belly Songs
(which was itself published by a micropress Sally Bellerose, Janet Aalfs and I -- all above! -- formed out of the writers group), and, since she asked me to, I read it aloud on the sidewalk to her and Janet as they leaned against the car.
We haven't been keeping in close touch, but, oh, I'll miss having her here in the world. If I hear more about a memorial, I'll post it.