Today, 20 July 2020, we would have been at The Poetry Café in London. We were so excited for Bridget Minamore and Nina Mingya Powles to resurrect two dead women poets in our old haunt. But like a poltergeist, we'll be back!
Though we can't be with you in person, we value our online audiences hugely. So we are delighted to share Bridget Minamore and Nina Mingya Powles's creative responses to their chosen poets of the past, Margaret Walker and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, who they would have resurrected at our séance today.
Bridget Minamore is a poet, journalist, mentor and all-round superstar based in London. She chose to respond to Margaret Walker, the first black woman in the United States to win a national writing prize, for her debut poetry collection For My People in 1942. Bridget's response is, brilliantly, a golden shovel after the title poem of this collection. A golden shovel is a poetic form in which the poet takes a line of someone else's writing, and uses those words in the same order as the end-words for the lines of a new poem. The form was created by American poet Terrance Hayes, after Dead Woman Poet Gwendolyn Brooks's poem 'We Real Cool'. We think it's fitting to turn this form on Brooks's fellow black American Dead Woman Poet Margaret Walker. Read 'Golden Shovel for My People' by Bridget Minamore, and find out more about Margaret Walker, here.
Nina Mingya Powles runs Bitter Melon press, and is an expert zine-maker as well as an award-winning poet and essayist - so we were thrilled that, in response to Cha's life and works, Nina made a zine. This multidisciplinary form seemed perfectly fitting for Cha's own artistic interests, which spanned photography, visual art, film and all forms of writing. Her novel Dictée, for which she is best known, uses visual and print media within the text, much like a zine. Read Seams : Traces by Nina Mingya Powles, and find out more about Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, here.
These creative responses were commissioned as part of Bridget Minamore and Nina Mingya Powles resurrections for a séance on the Dead [Women] Poets Society national tour in 2019/20. 2021 update!: book to join the rescheduled séance online on 20 July 2021 here, and find out about future events by signing up to our free and fun mailing list.
This project is supported by Arts Council England. Illustration by Lily Arnold.