Pam Baggett, "Wild Horse" & Tsitsi Jaji, "Beating the Graves"
Pam Baggett, Wild Horse & Tsitsi Jaji, Beating the Graves
Saturday, August 11, 7pm
Wild Horses was chosen as a runner-up for the 2017 Cathy Smith Bowers Chapbook Contest and published by Main Street Rag.
Pam Baggett is the author of the chapbook Wild Horses. Recent work appears in Atlanta Review, Cold Mountain Review, Crab Orchard Review, Greensboro Review, Nimrod, and Tar River Poetry. Pam is a recipient of an Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists Grant from the Durham Arts Council and an Artist Project Grant from the Orange County Arts Commission. She co-hosts the Second Thursday Poetry Reading Series at Flyleaf Books in Chapel HIll and lives in Cedar Grove, NC.
The poems in Tsitsi Ella Jaji’s Beating the Graves meditate on the meaning of living in diaspora, an experience increasingly common among contemporary Zimbabweans. Vivid evocations of the landscape of Zimbabwe filter critiques of contemporary political conditions and ecological challenges, veiled in the multiple meanings of poetic metaphor. Many poems explore the genre of praise poetry, which in Shona culture is a form of social currency for greeting elders and peers with a recitation of the characteristics of one’s clan. Others reflect on how diasporic life shapes family relations.
The praise songs in this volume pay particular homage to the powerful women and gender-queer ancestors of the poet’s lineage and thought. Honoring influences ranging from Caribbean literature to classical music and engaging metaphors from rural Zimbabwe to the post-steel economy of Youngstown, Ohio, Jaji articulates her own ars poetica. These words revel in the utter ordinariness of living globally, of writing in the presence of all the languages of the world, at home everywhere, and never at rest.
Tsitsi Ella Jaji is an associate professor of African and African American studies at Duke University. She is the author of Africa in Stereo: Modernism, Music, and Pan-African Solidarity.