Ties That Un/Bind: Diane Seuss and t’ai freedom ford (2021)
The O.B. Hardison Poetry Series presented Ties That Un/Bind: Diane Seuss and t'ai freedom ford on October 5, 2021 at 7:30pm as a live virtual reading.
“It’s true, words won’t save us, but & more black’s nimble linguistics make our journey to the end more keenly honest.” - RHINO
These are not your grandparents’ sonnets. Using a sonnet form that is more than 400 years old, Diane Seuss and t’ai freedom ford took chaos and crafted 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.
These two poets read from their writing highlighting the sonnet form. This reading was followed by a moderated conversation where audience members can also ask their own questions.
The event was accompanied by a pre-reading workshop, Sonnets and Son-nots: Experiments with Form with Diane Seuss on October 4, 2021.
Diane Seuss was born in Indiana and raised in Michigan. She is the author of the poetry collections frank: sonnets; Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl; Four-Legged Girl, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open, winner of the 2009 Juniper Prize for Poetry; and It Blows You Hollow. Her work has appeared in Poetry, the Georgia Review, Brevity, Able Muse, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and the Missouri Review, as well as The Best American Poetry 2014. She was the MacLean Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of English at Colorado College in 2012, and she has taught at Kalamazoo College since 1988.
t'ai freedom ford
t'ai freedom ford is a New York City high school English teacher. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in Apogee, Bomb Magazine, Calyx, Drunken Boat, Electric Literature, Gulf Coast, Kweli, Tin House, Poetry and others. Her poetry has been anthologized in A Body of Athletics edited by Natalie Diaz, The Break Beat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, and Nepantla: An Anthology of Queer Poets of Color. t’ai has received awards and fellowships from Cave Canem, Camargo Foundation, The Center for Fiction, Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, Kimbilio, and The Poetry Project. In 2019, t’ai became a Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship inaugural fellow. She is the author of two poetry collections, how to get over from Red Hen Press and & more black from Augury Books, finalist for the 2021 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, Claremont Graduate University, finalist for the 2020 Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, and winner of the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry. t’ai lives and loves in Brooklyn where she is an editor at No, Dear Magazine.
Reviews and excerpts
From "frank: sonnets" 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.