Feature image credit: @princessitabooks
Q: Why was it important for you to create this collection exploring topics on relationships with the women in your life, the Black experience, social movements etc. right now and how does this collection differ or align with your other bodies of work?
We think so often about the canon and how Black women exist in it. We think about the stories that are told about us. The many stories that included us but were not by us. We often think about the stories that lack our nuances: our love stories, smiles, and a full framing of our experience. My work seeks to bring fullness to our story and this work is in true alignment with that.
Q: What do you hope readers take away/gain from reading Black Girl, Call Home?
Of course I want readers to feel home. I want them to know that there is always a home to return to. There is a home inside of us and even when we feel like things are being stolen from us, we can rebuild in our fullness. I want people to notice how beautiful the Black girl experience is.
Q: Since you’ve started writing poetry in middle school, how have you and your poetry grown and/or changed over the years and which poets/authors have been influential in your life and writing?
I often think about my responsibility as a writer. I often think about my responsibility as a Black woman, what stories I am accountable for?
I’m accountable for how I talk about my body, as a Black woman. I am accountable for how I talk about joy. I want to remember the women who smiled. I want to describe sugar, not simply for the taste, but for the childhood. These are things I’ve rendered important to my craft.
As a student, I wanted to be a master of my art, but as an adult I want to play with my art. I want to be led by my art. I believe as we grow, our relationship with our writing will change, and that must be honored. How I engage different topics will evolve, I must trust the journey, and relinquish control of it, poetry has known this world longer than I have.
Q: Are you currently reading anything and which books are your top picks in general?
I just started reading Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half, I am super excited to see how it’s shaping up, and I just finished chapter 1!