First, welcome to Gertrude! We are thrilled to have you as our Guest Poetry Editor for the next two issues. Can you please tell us what you believe constitutes a great poem?
This is a really great question, especially since poetry (like any art form) is subjective. For me, a great poem offers the reader a new way of seeing or extends to us the opportunity to envision a new way of being; either with ourselves, in our communities, or in crafting a new world.
Who have been your writing influences?
Some of the writers who have had a great influence on me are Tommye Blount, Gwendolyn Brooks, Patricia Smith, and Jericho Brown. All of whom encourage me to dig deeper, make space for tenderness, and to face the poem honestly.
Who have been your LIFE influences - musicians, philosophers, artists, family, etc.?
The first person who immediately comes to mind is my brilliant sister Kristle Marshall. Not only is she my closest friend, but Kristle is also a visual artist who encourages me to live and be imaginative. Some important life influences include my good friend Inam Kang - who teaches me to honor the heart space, the work of James Baldwin, Angela Davis, Jesmyn Ward, Mariame Kaba, and always Detroit.
Can you also tell us a little bit about the Allied Media Conference in Detroit and your involvement with them?
The Allied Media Conference (AMC) is a cauldron of imaginative media and visionary strategies for social justice organizing. For over 20 years, the AMC has convened media-makers and visionary organizers of all kinds to explore how we use media-based organizing or any collaborative process that uses media, art, or technology to address the roots of problems and advance holistic solutions towards a more just and creative world.
As the Co-Director my focus is on leading and stewarding the Biennial AMC convening in Detroit. My role is to create the container for brilliant and imaginative social justice organizers to share ideas and build critical connections. The AMC was entirely virtual this year, you can find all of our ceremonies and plenaries from this year online.
(editor's note: check out the closing ceremony video in the sidebar)
What three poems have had the most impact on you (yes, only three)?
May I, instead, offer three books I find myself returning to this year?
Thanks, Nadine and welcome aboard!