Shanta Lee is a writer of poetry, creative nonfiction, journalism, a visual artist and public intellectual actively participating in the cultural discourse with work that has been widely featured. Shanta Lee is also the author of the poetry collection, GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues, winner of the 2020 Diode Press full-length book prize and the 2021 Vermont Book Award. This latest illustrated poetry collection, Black Metamorphoses (Etruscan Press, 2023), has been named a finalist in the 2021 Hudson prize, shortlisted for the 2021 Cowles Poetry Book Prize, and longlisted for the 2021 Idaho poetry prize. Dark Goddess: An Exploration of the Sacred Feminine, her latest exhibition which features her short film, interviews, photography, and other items has been on view at the University of Vermont’s Fleming Museum of Art. To learn more about her work, visit Shantalee.com.
This exploration starts with a question: what is the arc from Lucy Terry Prince to the modern moment of the spoken word within poetry? Lucy’s poem, “Bars Fight,” survived for 100 years in oral tradition before appearing for the first time in 1854 in the Springfield Daily Republican. This talk explores some of the roots of orality in connection with Lucy Terry Prince, the first known African American poet in the U.S. From there, we will explore how this poem's survival fits within a constellation of other poets in journeying from the oral to the written. What are some conclusions can we draw about creative lineage in relation to poetics? When it comes to the transference of poetry through oral tradition, how do we apply that to the bigger question of knowledge transference across a diaspora? These and other bigger questions alongside poetry are explored within this lecture.
New Hampshire Humanities programs are made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this these programs do not necessarily represent those of the NEH or New Hampshire Humanities.