Kagendo Murungi Interviews Dorothea Smartt

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Kenyan writer Kagendo Murungi interviews literary activist, live artist, and poet Dorothea Smartt for Black LooksAt the end of the interview, Smartt reads the introductory poem to her latest publication, “Reader, I Married Him & Other Queer Goings-On.”  [Also see previous post New Book: Dorothea Smartt’s “Reader, I Married Him & Other Queer Goings-On” .] See excerpts of the introductory essay here, with a link to the full article and interview below:

Described as a ‘Brit-born Bajan international’, her work typically bridges the islands of Britain and Barbados, effortlessly shuttling between local and global scenes as it weaves a diasporic web.

[. . .] In this interview, Dorothea underlines her relationship to her Bajan voice as a critical medium for her poetry. She reflects on her South London birth and upbringing in a Bajan household and the process of finding her voice and creating her place in the world as a Black girl in Britain. In the course of discussing her depiction of specifically located characters and their particular voices within her poetry collections, she repurposes historical and mythological figures, from Medusa to “Samboo” whom she renames Bilal. She engages us in her practice of historical “healing, restitution, recovery, re-membering, and re-calling” in the excavation of overlooked and erased voices in past and present contexts. Her philosophy as a cultural practitioner is revealed through her treatment of cultural narratives as they impact individual and collective memory and consciousness, and implicate themselves in geographical landscapes. Her work re-inscribes a gendered, multiply located, lived and mythologized individual, familial and collective healing space.

Kagendo Murungi is a Kenyan writer, video producer and activist with a background in international sexual and gender rights advocacy.

For full essay and interview, see http://www.blacklooks.org/2014/05/interview-with-dorothea-smartt-brit-born-bajan-literary-activist-live-artist-poet/

[Photo from http://www.saymynametheseries.com/]

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