To celebrate Black History Month, we’re highlighting six cutting-edge, beautiful and radical projects from black poets, writers, and visual artists. Here's our links roundup of what we’re most excited for this October:
Our friends at Silver Press just published the powerful Audre Lorde collection Your Silence Will Not Protect You. Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet, Audre is oft-quoted at protests and her essay ‘The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House’ is a classic. Listen to the brilliant Akwugo Emejulu on the enduring power of Audre Lorde's work.
On 12 Oct, Poet Claudia Rankine crossed the pond for a talk at the Tate. She’s just launched the Racial Imaginary Institute, an online platform designed as a dynamic archive for artists, photographers, and intellectuals to interrogate the construction of race. At the Tate, audience members watched a performance from her new play The White Card after which Rankine spoke with Tate curator Zoe Whitley on the exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power”.
That same day, ‘Dear Mr Shakespeare,’ a reinterpretation of Othello, written, performed and animated by visual artist Phoebe Boswell and directed by Shola Amoo, showed at the London Film Festival. It’s amazing. Watch above and be amazed.
In New York City, Chris Jackson, an editorial powerhouse at Penguin Random House US, just relaunched the One World imprint, responsible for publishing books by the likes of Ta-Nahesi Coates, Eddie Huang, and Jay-Z. He discussed Coates' newest book We Were Eight Years in Power. You may have recently seen Chris’s Literary Hub essay on ‘diversity in publishing.'
Shout-out to the amazing African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) website. It’s ‘the leading online platform for public scholarship on global black thought, history, and culture,’ and I love their ‘Black Perspectives’ blog. Also, their expert hashtag syllabi is an excellent resource to brush up on intellectual contexts of timely issues.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with this quote from Egyptian-American poet Matthew Shenoda’s World Literature Today essay on the African Poetry Book Fund:
As with all things worthwhile, risk and form are at the center; the why and how, the deep-down belief that the world can only shift, even slightly, if we are the ones to push it. And so we nudge, sometimes shove; we embody the notion that the world can change, that its axis, though formidable, is somehow malleable.
Esther / Tilted Axis