S285. Can I Live? Writing Policed Black Women's Bodies

Room 504, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
Saturday, April 2, 2016
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm


Despite its prevalence, various forms of violence against black women remain largely ignored in national and literary conversations. In response, five multigenre writers discuss craft approaches to writing the policed black female body, particularly when it is complicated by identity constructs such as poverty, (mental) illness, (dis)ability, and addiction. They also read excerpts of their own work (including poetry, fiction, and drama) wherein they seek to rearticulate this body in empowering ways.



Destiny Birdsong is a poet and essayist whose work has either appeared or is forthcoming in At Length, Vinyl, African American Review, and elsewhere. She is a lecturer and academic advisor at Vanderbilt University, where she received her MFA in poetry in 2009, and her PhD in English in 2012.

Nafissa Thompson-Spires is a visiting assistant professor of African American studies and creative writing at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her fiction and criticism have appeared or are forthcoming in East Bay Review, Compose, Blinders, and other literary journals.

Kateema Lee’s poetry has been published in print and in online literary journals. She is an associate editor for the Potomac Review and a Cave Canem Graduate Fellow. When she is not writing, she teaches English composition, literature, and women’s studies at Montgomery College in Maryland.

April Gibson is a poet and essayist whose work focuses on race, gender, and economic vulnerability. Her work has appeared in Pluck, Naugatuck River Review, Literary Mama, and elsewhere. Her chapbook is titled Automation. Gibson holds an MFA and directs the writing center at St. Catherine University.

Charly Evon Simpson is a playwright and performer. Her plays have been developed/seen at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Plays & Players, The Flea, and more. She received her BA from Brown University and her MSt in women’s studies from University of Oxford. She's an MFA candidate in playwriting at Hunter College.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center