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Destiny O. Birdsong: Negotiations
October 26, 2020 @ EST 7:30 pm - 8:00 pmFree
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In her debut book of poems, Negotiations (Tin House, 2020), Destiny O. Birdsong writes fearlessly about what it means to live in this America, about Cardi B and top-tier journal publications, about autoimmune disease and the speaker’s intense hunger for her own body—a surprise of self-love in the aftermath of both assault and diagnosis. It is a series of love letters to black women, who are often singled out for abuse and assault, silencing, tokenism, fetishization, and cultural appropriation in ways that throw the rock, then hide the hand. Negotiations is an indictment of people and systems that attempt to narrow black women’s lives and power. It is also about tenderness and an examination of complicity—both a narrative and a black box warning for a particular kind of self-healing that requires recognizing culpability when and where it exists.
“Negotiations is an intimate, stunning collection. Destiny O. Birdsong’s poems examine systems of power and oppression, violence, complicity. These poems are desire, survival, the body, rage, vulnerability. A fierce celebration of black womanhood.”—Jaquira Díaz, author of Ordinary Girls
Destiny O. Birdsong is a Louisiana-born poet, fiction writer, and essayist. The recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, Jack Jones Literary Arts, the Ragdale Foundation, and the MacDowell Colony, she won the Academy of American Poets Prize, Naugatuck River Review’s 2016 Narrative Poetry Contest, and Meridian’s 2017 “Borders” Contest in Poetry. She earned both her MFA and PhD from Vanderbilt University, and now lives and works in Nashville, Tennessee