Hosted by F. Douglas Brown and Featuring
bridgette bianca, Nandi Comer, & Aricka Foreman
bridgette bianca is a poet and professor from South Central Los Angeles. When she is not sharing her own poetry at venues all around Southern California, she co-curates two literary series, Making Room for Black Women and the Women’s Center for Creative Work Reading Series. be/trouble (Writ Large Press) is her debut collection of poetry.
be/trouble (Writ Large Press/The Accomplices) is, in many respects, a love letter to Los Angeles. Even when the city isn’t formally mentioned, it is always in the backdrop, always present, and we are always aware that Los Angeles offers as much danger as it does glamour as much grit as beauty. This is the Los Angeles not shown on television and movies: the everyday minituatea of Black Angeleno life. If you’re lucky enough to be a part of it then you know this heritage was handed from one generation to the next. You know that many reservoirs of that heritage are disappearing with little acknowledgment or news. If you are lucky enough to know then you’ve already had the best catfish, you’ve been to the best card games, you’ve seen the low riders glide up Crenshaw Blvd, you’ve heard the drum circle from Leimert Park. bridgette bianca has written a book that highlights these experiences. The very least we can do is pay attention.
NANDI COMER is the author of the American Family: A Syndrome (Finishing Line Press) and Tapping Out (Northwestern University Press). She is a Cave Canem Fellow, a Callaloo Fellow, and a Kresge Arts in Detroit Fellow. Her poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Green Mountains Review, Muzzle, The Offing and Southern Indiana Review. She directs the Allied Media Projects Speakers Bureau and is a founding member of the collective, Detroit Lit.
The harsh realities of being migrant and immigrant, being birthright and oppressed, are as hard-pressed as the plancha move to the body. Each poem in Tapping Out is a “freestyle movement” of language and complexity put on full display, under the bright lights and roars of survival. Comer’s splendid and barbed, Detroit style of language melts the masks with searing words.
ARICKA FOREMAN is a poet, editor and educator from Detroit. Author of Dream with a Glass Chamber and Salt Body Shimmer (YesYes Books 2019), she has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. Her poems, essays and features have appeared in The Offing, Buzzfeed, Vinyl, RHINO, The Blueshift Journal, Day One, shuf Poetry, James Franco Review, THRUSH, Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation (Viking Penguin), among others. She lives in Chicago.
“Salt Body Shimmer [YesYes Books] delivers girls and women with their hearts and strides unbroken, however provoked by deadening violences. Aricka Foreman’s deft lyric is both canopy and camouflage, beyond able to outwork predators and the hard silences they will against laughter, booty clap, and no. Aricka Foreman’s debut collection declares its right to everyplace, finds its heroes, and offers “a spell for everything.” I’ve not read or heard poems like these. “Out of a grave vision,” Foreman condenses the accumulated pain of subjugations and raises a dazzling mist to cool our eyes, our tired flesh.”
F. DOUGLAS BROWN is the author of two poetry collections, ICON (Writ Large Press, 2018), and Zero to Three (University of Georgia, 2014), winner of the 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize selected by US Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith. Brown, an educator for over 25 years, currently teaches English and African American Poetry at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, and is both a Cave Canem and Kundiman fellow. He is the co-founder and co-curator of un::fade::able – The Requiem for Sandra Bland, a quarterly reading series examining restorative justice through poetry as a means to address racism. When he is not teaching, writing or with his children (Isaiah, Olivia, and Simone), he is busy DJing in the greater Los Angeles area.