Poet, essayist, and multimedia artist Dawn Lundy Martin, editor of “On Race and Innovation,” a boundary2 dossier forthcoming in vol. 42, no. 5 (November 2015), was recently interviewed by the Library of Congress. Below is a small excerpt of the interview:
“In contrast to conventional images of the black female body, your poems are stark in their physicality; they also speak of the body in a conceptualized way. Can you talk about this duality?
The black female body is an invention of conventional thought. It has been conceived, at least in the West, via a series of manipulations, perceptions, and racist interventions by institutions—intellectual, political, and popular alike. I believe in the black female body only in so far as one is an individual who might make certain claims about their own legitimate being in the world. But that is difficult. How do we know ourselves except through the eyes of the other? How to claim something legitimately and intimately given the cultural representations of the black female body that have nothing to do with our interiorities? It’s a fraught intersection—femaleness and blackness—one that should not be easily articulated or regurgitated. Hence, what might be understood as a conceptualized means of approaching and speaking the black female body. I want to resist being put into your box of recognizability. I want to give the finger to those eyes of knowing/creating.”
If you wish to read the interview in its entirety, please visit the Library of Congress website.