Re-Memory Poetry Writing Workshop with Sherese Francis Part 3
“Re-Memory Poetry Writing Workshop (from Mmiri and Mirrors Collective Writing Workshop Series)
What do we choose to remember and what chooses us to be remembered? Memory is something we often cannot control; it is usually what happens to bubble up out of the collection of what we have received in our own personal archives of living. During this Women’s History Month, we will read works from Black women poets like Roya Marsh, M. Nourbese Philip, Akilah Oliver, Lucille Clifton, Audre Lorde, T’ai Freedom Ford, Maya Angelou and Elizabeth Alexander to reflect on and discuss the concept of memory, how what is remembered shapes the work of these poets and the personal, cultural and historical connections that are formed through remembering, especially through a woman’s body. After the discussion of each poem, participants will write responses to prompts inspired by them.
Session 3: Finding Grace in the Grief
The root for the word “grace” means “to praise” and is related to the word “bard,” a poet or singer recounting the epic stories of larger than life figures. Grace is a form of telling one’s story, leaving a legacy, a calling for others to respond. During times of grief, what can we share with others through our words to relieve some of the heaviness, to connect with others in a way to produce and help carry something bigger than oneself? In looking at the works of Lucille Clifton, Maya Angelou and Elizabeth Alexander, we will discuss how these poets saw death not as an ending but as transformation and how their works transformed the grief in their lives.
PHOTO: Gladys Weaver (nee Simpkins) poses with her son, Lester, and her cousin Mamie. Gladys married John Weaver in 1947 and gave birth to their son, Lester, in 1951. The couple moved into the Merrick Park Garden co-op apartments soon after.