Tripwire Cross-Cultural Poetics Series: Momtaza Mehri and Zoé Samudzi, reading and in conversation
With emcee, alex cruse
This remote-access event starts promptly at 12:00 pm Pacific Time, and is free and open to the public. Real-Time Captioning link will be provided at the event. Media Captioning provided after the event, at our YouTube channel and at Poetry Center Digital Archive. For other reasonable accommodations please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note early start-time, to accommodate our guest and audience in the UK, and elsewhere.
For our third program in the Tripwire Cross-Cultural Poetics Series, we are delighted to welcome two of the more outstanding young Black writers and intellectuals at work in the US and UK. Momtaza Mehri, in London, and Zoé Samudzi, here in the Bay Area, will each read from their work, engage in conversation with one another and with emcee alex cruse, and respond to questions from the audience. We welcome this rare opportunity to bring these two Afro-diasporan writers and thinkers together across continents.
- “...A poet is drenched in a singularity, sodden with its viscous specificity. A poem speaks for itself exactly when it declares it speaks for others. The Black poet is an isotope of both hope & despair. The Black poet is both a reluctant & enthusiastic interlocutor of what is known as the Black condition, which conditions & structures the World that invented it. The Black poem asks you where it hurts & demands no particular answer. The Black poet knows this is a question one can spend a life trying to answer....”
—Momtaza Mehri, "Harlem Is Hijaz Is Havana Is Harar, Or: The Whole Point of the Black Arts Movement Is That They Were Moving"
- “We [Afro-]diasporans joke often about the genre of poetry and prose born out of a longing for a motherland animated only by hungry verses. There’s a cowardice to this: nostalgic memory, a narrativized nostalgia for memories and experiences and beauty that never belonged to you, is easy. But situating oneself in the wake and afterlife of those traumas and beautiful/beautified struggles is far harder still.”
—Zoé Samudzi on Momtaza Mehri, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Summer 2020
Momtaza Mehri is a poet and independent researcher. Her work has been widely anthologised and has appeared in Granta, Artforum, The Guardian, BOMB, and Real Life Mag. She is the former Young People’s Laureate for London. Her latest pamphlet, Doing the Most with the Least, was published in 2019 by Goldsmiths Press. Her sugah. lump. prayer was included in the chapbook box set New-Generation African Poets, edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani (African Poetry Book Fund/Akashic Books, 2017). More here.
- “As Black as Resistance [by Zoé Samudzi and William C. Anderson] is an urgently needed book…a call to action through an embrace of the anarchy of blackness as a recognition and a refusal of the deathly logics of liberalism and consumption. In the face of the ever expanding carceral state, levels of inequality, environmental degradation, and resurgent fascism, this book offers a map to imagining the liberated futures that we can and mus and do make.”
—Christina Sharpe, author of In the Wake: On Blackness and Being
Zoé Samudzi is a writer, photographer, and a doctoral candidate in Medical Sociology at the University of California, San Francisco. Her writing has appeared in The New Inquiry, Warscapes, Truthout, ROAR Magazine, Teen Vogue, BGD, Bitch Media, Open Space, and Verso, among others. With William C. Anderson, Samudzi is coauthor of As Black as Resistance: Finding the Conditions for Liberation (foreword by Mariame Kaba, AK Press, 2018). More here.