The O.B. Hardison Reading: Ties That Un/Bind
“It’s true, words won’t save us, but & more black’s nimble linguistics make our journey to the end more keenly honest.” - RHINO
Be forewarned, these are not your grandparents’ sonnets. Using a sonnet form that is more than 400 years old, Diane Seuss and t’ai freedom ford take chaos and craft it into an explosive fourteen-line package. Their sonnets are propulsive, poly-vocal, and poly-verbal gems. In the hands of these two expert practitioners, a classic form comes to life anew.
Join these two poets as they read from their writing highlighting the sonnet form. This reading will be followed by a moderated conversation where audience members can also ask their own questions.
Diane Seuss will also offer a special virtual writing workshop, on Monday, October 4 from 7:30pm-9:30pm EST, titled Sonnets and Son-nots: Experiments with Form. In this workshop, we will consider modern and contemporary offshoots of the traditional sonnet by poets e.e. cummings, Evie Shockley, Gerald Stern, and Terrance Hayes. We will also experiment with Seuss’ sonnet form composed from American Sentences.
The cost for the workshop is $75, with a discount for Folger Poetry subscribers. Spaces are available for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) participants and for those who would be aided by a sliding scale. Please contact Teri Cross Davis at email@example.com.
From Frank by Diane Seuss
There is a force that breaks the body, inevitable,
the by-product is pain, unexceptional as a rain
gauge, which has become arcane, rhyme, likewise,
unless it’s assonant or internal injury, gloom, joy,
which is also a dish soap, but not the one that rids
seabirds of oil from wrecked tankers, that’s Dawn,
which should change its name to Dusk, irony being
the flip side of sentimentality here in the Iron Age,
ironing out the kinks in despair, turning it into hairdo
from hair, to do, vexing infinitive, much better to be
pain’s host, body of Christ as opposed to the Holy
Ghost, when I have been suffering at times I could
step away from it by embracing it, a blues thing,
a John Donne thing, divest by wrestling, then sing.
"[There is a force that breaks the body]” from frank: sonnets. Copyright © 2021 by Diane Seuss. Used with the permission of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org
From & more black by t’ai freedom ford
from here i saw what happened and i cried
after Carrie Mae Weems
the blood is red the blues is red the blues
is blood the red is dirt the dirt is brown
the brown is red the dirt is blood the blood
is blues the blues is brown the brown is skin
the skin is blood the blood is kin the kin
is red the red is blood the blood is new
the new is skin the skin is news the news
is brown the brown is noose the noose is red
the red is blues the blues is dirt the dirt
is skin the skin is blues the blues is kin
the kin is brown the brown is blood the blood
is news the news is black the black is new
the new is red the red is noose the noose
is black is blues is brown is red is blood—
Published with permission of Augury Books.