AWP – Cave Canem Panel

I’m very happy to repost some success with my reading? –performance? –sharing? on Friday, 10 April on the Cave Canem panel (for AWP): “Three decades, Four Poets:  a lovely panel on which I was the only woman –and last, as in, perhaps, Save the Best for Last“?  

I shared, “Interpretation of a Poem by Frost,” a poem  (in its entirety here) that interprets  “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” –I was teaching a class at Phillips Academyhistory and literature of Afro-Americans, and as I seemed the natural choice for that class, and many were taking the class to avoid certain writers, in favor of “black” writers,  decided to make a point (those who know me will understand how irresistible this was for me), and I ordered only one text: “The Complete Works of Frost” that included the poem that my poem, written after the huge cries of dissension, and threats to report my class to the head of school (head “master”, but a term I would never use) to try to make a point about how and why something could be read, and that a writer’s race is no guarantee that the work in question will respond meaningfully to current situations of the reader — as if only black writers  (I’m on this list, as I should be, by the way) can respond significantly to  “black experience” –and not all blacks have the same experience anyway; significance of a poem or any  other piece of writing cannot be determined by the race of the water alone, and what if mistakes are made about the race of the writer

Is this the best way to determine relevance? –some topics allowed only if you have the “correct” race –as if nothing said has meaning if your race happens not to be the race of the writer? –sounds very suspicious to me!  A bit of defiance, just in reading, just in performing my work ; a bit of revenge! –I can still do this, despite MS! –maybe even better, because of MS!

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