As an artist, my work has always existed at the intersection of social change and collaboration. Nina Simone said, “An artist’s duty is to reflect the times,” but the way the world makes its way into my poetry feels more like a compulsion than a duty. My poems explore ways political realities built on patriarchy and capitalism affect the environment and People of the Global Majority. In the past, these influences have manifested as rage given shape by words. Now, with a daughter, I feel more introspective than reactionary when I write. She gives my work more depth, and more urgency. As I write love letters to the earth, climate collapse no longer just affects strangers in the headlines or an abstract idea of my descendants—poetry offers me a path to grieve a world my daughter will never know and to question the one that will hold her. The reality of wearing a Black woman’s body seems more complicated each day, and writing about misogynoir with a new daughter is no longer a matter of mere anger, but a juxtaposition of love against oppression. My work has also shifted in that now I’m not only concerned with writing for the future, but also investigating the past. Motherhood takes my poetry into the forest where my own mother walks—I must write a record of yesterday so my daughter may know herself more fully tomorrow.
As a writer, I’m concerned with world-building: what is the world I want my children to inhabit, and how do we get there? What must be lit ablaze now so soil can be fruitful for the seeds we want to plant? I want to plant seeds that will shift perspectives and bring others together. I want to demonstrate that even in isolation none of us are alone, and reach people through their grief to move them into a place of healing and action. My work has never existed only on the page, but also taken the form of community arts and political organizing. I hope my words will inspire others to know their agency in building the world we all deserve.
You can purchase my chapbook, EVERYTHING GOOD IS DYING ($15), by requesting a copy here.