MANUSCRIPT IN PROGRESS
Kweer: Black Maternity and the Bitter/Sweet Sound and Arc/Ark of Protest in the African American Elegiac Tradition
Kweer argues that the African American elegiac tradition, often read through the surface valence of mourning, in fact, springs from writers’ protest against their blackness serving as the prototypical marker of outsider-ness, which a cadre of scholars have named queerness. This study draws upon the self-affirming exceptionality of the kweer—a riff on the nominalism, quare, coined in the landmark text, Black Queer Studies (2005)—to propose a different natal lens for African American protest: the black maternal voice synonymous with the advent of African American literature and the American songbook. Covering more than 260 years of African American literature, Kweer maps the ways that black women personae’s sexual and gender transgressions serve as insightful catalysts of dissent in the aftermath of chattel slavery and its cruel descendant, Jim Crow, throughout the global South. African American elegists make palpable the experiences that mark black women as forebears of a multiethnic American consciousness, complicating the relationship that their progeny, conceived under duress at best and by force at worst, have with their sexualities and what Hortense Spillers calls “the power of ‘yes’ to the female within.”
Peer-reviewed Journal Essays
“Birthing America’s Kweer: Motherless Children Preach the Gospel of Mercy.” south. LI.1 (Fall 2019): 298-317.
“ ‘The Sweet Meat of My Feelings’: The Ghost of LeRoi Jones and the (Re)Birth of a Nation.” Forthcoming in Callaloo (Elegy issue. Ed. Joshua Bennett; in production)
“ ‘She Is Twenty-Three Months Pregnant’: The Quare, Black Maternity, and Bob Kaufman’s Surreal Revision of the Migration Narrative.” (Obsidian, 41.2)
“Quaring the Prose Poem.” The Edinburgh Companion to the Prose Poem. Eds. Michel DeVille and Mary Ann Caws. (Edinburgh University Press, 2020).
Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, N.C., Fall 2019-Present)
Assistant Professor, Department of English
CRW 100: Introduction to Creative Writing
CRW 285: Documentary Poetics
ENG 175: Multiethnic American Poetics
ENG 302: “Black Is Beautiful”: African American Poetics and Aesthetics, 1919-2019
Mississippi University for Women (Columbus, Miss., Spring 2018-Present)
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of English, Low-Residency MFA Faculty
The University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Ala., Fall 2016-Present)
Assistant Professor, Department of English
Davidson College (Davidson, N.C., Fall 2015-Spring 2016)
Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of English
Conference Presentations & Appearances
Oct. 8, 2019: “More Than a Metaphor: The Ethics of Writing Through a Legacy of Racialized Violence.” Frank Islam Anthenaeum Symposia Fall 2019 Series. Montgomery College. Germantown, Md.
July 25, 2019: “Lost Johnson, McKay Novels Extend the Arc of Satire in the New Negro Renaissance.” MLA International Symposium: “Remembering Lost Voices.” Universidade Católica Portuguesa-Lisbon.
July 24 2019: “Quaring Myths: The Poetics of Sun Ra and Gil Scott-Heron and the Black Maternal.” MLA International Symposium: “Remembering Lost Voices.” Universidade Católica Portuguesa-Lisbon. .
Nov. 3, 2018: “The Erotic Freedom of ‘Black Girl Magic’: Fungible Trope to ‘Pynk’ Power.” Society of Utopian Studies Conference: “Disruption, Displacement, Disorder.” With UA MFA Sarah Barnes. University of California-Berkeley Clark Conference Center.
April 6, 2018: “A Mandrake’s Call from the Nadir to the Instagram, Fakebook Generation: A Wild Plaint’s Pivotal Role in Shifting the Arc of Protest in the African American Elegaic Tradition.” College Language Association. Holiday Inn Chicago-Mart Plaza River North.
March 10, 2018: “Intersectional/Quare.” “Bless Our Hearts: Teaching While Queer in the South.” Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference. Tampa Waterside Marriott. With Douglas Ray, Lu Vickers, Julie Marie Wade, and Brandy T. Wilson.
March 9, 2018: “Complex Narratives: A VIDA Voices and Views Disability Focus.” With Lydia X.Z. Brown and Lynne DeSilva-Johnson. Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference. Tampa Convention Center.
Nov. 10, 2017: “Write Like a Mother and Don’t Shut Ya Mouth: Or Birthing Burden Hill and Envisioning Black Liberation Amid White Nationalist Terror.” Society of Utopian Studies. DoubleTree Downtown Memphis.
April 7, 2017: “The Lyric Line.” Hendrix College. Bertie Wilson Murphy Building. Conway, Ark.
Feb. 10, 2017: “Beyond Sex: The Poetics of Desire.” With Remica L. Bingham-Risher, Sarah McCall, and Tim Seibles. Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference: Washington, D.C. Marriott Marquis Salon 5.
Feb. 9, 2017: “Take Me to the Water: How Poets of Color Migrated South and Built an Inclusive and Growing Community.” Panel Chair. With John S. Blake, DaMaris Hill, Monifa Lemons Jackson, and Grace Shuyi Liew. Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference: Washington, D.C. Washington Convention Center 207B.
November 19, 2015: "Will Read for Food!" Fundraiser for Interactive Resource Center. Featured Reader w/Ansel Elkins and other UNC-Greensboro MFA Faculty.
October 16, 2015: West End Poetry Festival, Carrboro, N.C. Featured Reader @ Flyleaf Books Opening Reception. With Tsitsi Jaji, Terry L. Kennedy, Maria Rouphail, Crystal Simone Smith, and Gideon Young.
May 1-2, 2015: Northeast Modern Language Association Conference
“Remixing Ethnicity, Place, and Creative Writing," “Love and Loss in Modernist Poetry,” and “Excavating the Voice: Literature
of Nineteenth-century African-American Women: Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson. ” With Jerry Wemple, Christina Milletti,
Ellen McWhorter, Judah-Micah Lamar, et al. Northeast Modern Language Association Conference. Toronto, Ontario.
1-2 May 2015.
March 15, 2015: Sunday Kind of Love, Busboys and Poets, Washington, D.C.