In Praise of Our Black Women Poets: Recordings of SF State Poetry Center

Thursday, November 10, 2016
LITHUB -- In spring 2016, I received an offer from San Francisco State University to work as a visiting scholar in the Poetry Center on a Black Writers in the Archives curriculum. Creating a curriculum was a tall order for only one semester, considering there are 200-plus recordings, starting as early as the 1950s, of writers who can be classified as black. I began going through the catalogues — some were kept by hand, typed, and written into a ledger; another was nicely printed and bound; and there were Excel spreadsheets for the 1990s and 2000s. Watching these videos, I entered into a different geological layer within myself. It wasn’t lost on me that the recordings I wanted digitized were from the decades of my birth, childhood, and adolescence. The way these poets occupied space and time was a home-return to rooms that were my own and also part of the grand room of black women poetry.