How can poetry set you free?
Adebe DeRango-Adem continues our National Poetry Month series with a message on how poetry’s voice can move us to necessary action. Read her far more profound explanation below:
“As I write, I can’t help but read aloud, think about how the lines I am writing will sound—their sonic potential. It’s impossible for me to not be attuned to the music(ality) of language, as both the product of African storytelling traditions and conscious engagement with and mentorship from writers of the Black Arts tradition, who centered jazz, blues, and gospel in their works, as workable scores for imagining freedom. To me, poetry is the stuff of freedom: bearing witness, listening deeply, imagining, insisting.
My latest poetry collection, Vox Humana, was written directly from a place of political reckoning, of a resolute need to bridge craft to climate. It delves into the metaphysics of voice as both form of agency and measure of agency, urging readers/listeners to think of voice as being as much about individual subjectivity as it is about sounding out the needs of a community—the collective amplification of issues, accounting for who is free and who is not, and why. Protest, publication and public performance are all ways we can use our respective platforms to draw attention to the crisis(es) of our time—by getting at the heart; by talking/speaking back.”
– Adebe DeRango-Adem
Adebe DeRango-Adem is a writer and former attendee of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics (Naropa University), where she mentored with poets Anne Waldman and Amiri Baraka. She is the author of three previous full-length poetry books to date: Ex Nihilo, a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize; Terra Incognita, nominated for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award; and The Unmooring. A poem from The Unmooring was featured in the 2019 Poem-In-Your-Pocket anthology, co-created by the League of Canadian Poets and the Academy of American Poets. Adebe served as the 2019-20 Barbara Smith Writer-in-Residence with Twelve Literary Arts (Cleveland, Ohio) and was selected by Sonia Sanchez as the winner of the 2021 Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest. Her fourth poetry collection, Vox Humana, was published with Book*hug Press in Fall 2022.