Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Ciona Rouse

Afrofuturism and the Art of Seeing

Reflections on Tales of Wakanda and the visionary literature of the African diaspora

Black authors, along with visual artists, musicians, designers, and activists, have long learned to zip into the cloak of art we now call Afrofuturism to imagine possible futures that embrace truly liberated Black bodies and stories. Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda, an anthology edited by Memphis native Jesse J. Holland, joins this tradition through multiple perspectives on the world of Marvel’s T’Challa.

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Power in the Word

Southern Word connects young people to their voices, each other

Students and recent alumni of Southern Word have published books, produced music, given TEDx Talks, been featured on national broadcasts and in newspapers like The New York Times, and even received invitations from Michelle Obama to visit the White House for a student poetry celebration. Southern Word will host the annual BlackLift Poetry House, held online February 20.

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Poetic Borders and Landscapes

Khaled Mattawa’s lyrical cartography of human migration remembers, inspires

In his fifth collection, Fugitive Atlas, poet Khaled Mattawa — a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga — issues a timely invitation to examine our many migrations, gently calling us out of ourselves and into the world. In a series of imaginative and provocative poems, he asks us to consider the borders that exist off the map and apply meaning to our real lives.

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Doing the Work

Nikky Finney’s fifth poetry collection is an essential collage of life and art

Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry, Nikky Finney’s first new collection in nearly 10 years, demonstrates how the National Book Award-winning poet continues to push herself and expand our idea of poetry’s scope. Finney will appear at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books, held online October 1-11.

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Saving What Remains

Poet Natasha Trethewey’s memoir revisits her Mississippi childhood and her mother’s violent death

In Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir, former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey returns to the love and pain of her childhood and the trauma of her mother’s murder. Trethewey will appear at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books, held online October 1-11.

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