Is your work political?
as a Black poet/writer, i believe my work to be political; whether i’m writing specifically about a “political” subject or not. in this country, in America, Black voices are required to be political; writing about love is political; writing about loving your partner, your children, or any loving relationship is a political act for me. it is a heavy weight, an anvil frustration and despair, that every act of humanity expressed has to be validated, confirmed, or proven against the backdrop of Whiteness. yes my work is political out of necessity.
What is the place of literature in politics?
literature is the driver of politics. whether is be rhetoric or truth; propaganda or affirmation. literature is the “sine qua non” of politics. remember literature is not just the written word; literature was oral thousands of years before it became written. politics are littered with quotes, phrases, passages of literature to convey the necessary thoughts and emotions of one’s ideology.
What is your favorite political work?
i don’t if i necessarily have a favorite except to say my favorite political work is encapsulated in the struggle of Black people in the country and all of the amazing voices that advocating for humanity. i’m such a huge fan of toni morrison (bluest eye), lucille clifton (anthology), james baldwin (price of the ticket). right now, nina simone is my favorite; her voice, her will, her defiance, and her strength.
Do you feel voting is important?
absolutely important. i saw the toll it took to gain that freedom growing up in shreveport, la. i saw the cost of the ballot and it’s ability to change things you believed would never change. i first voted for president in 1978.
What are your hopes for this election?
wow. i don’t if i can answer that in this much space or time. i would hope that whoever becomes president, congress, and senate would do the will of the people because that’s their duty. but i know that will never happen. so my hopes for this election is that it will galvanize the resolve of people of goodwill, especially in the Black community to finally to work together, cohesively, to bring about the kind of change that’s necessary for our communities. i would love to see all of the Black organizations band together to form an African American PAC that would back Black candidates and Black legislation.
conney d. williams is a poet, actor, community activist, and performance artist with two collections of poetry “Leaves of Spilled Spirit from an Untamed Poet” (2002) and “Blues Red Soul Falsetto” (2012). In 2015, he released two critically acclaimed cds of his poetry accompanied by music titled: “River & Moan and Unsettled Water.” He is the former Artistic Director at The World Stage and Coordinator for the Anansi Writers Workshop; he’s also the co-founder of The World Stage Press. His poems have also been published in various anthologies & journals including Dryland Review, Voices from Leimert, Cultural Weekly, Drumming Between Us, Askew Poetry Journal, Wide Awake Anthology, and Poets & Allies Anthology. He has performed his poetry on television, radio, universities & colleges, and various venues across the U.S.
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