Over the last week or so, I have had a handful of poems released several places. Typically, I announce my publications on all my social media the day they are released to the public. However, over the last week or so, I have also been a part of several of the Black Lives Matter protests in Philadelphia.
This is where my mind has been these last couple weeks, and I'm very happy that it seems most other people can say the same thing. For white and non-black people like me, now is a time to be educating myself on the systemic racism that has existed for centuries in America and focusing on what I am able to do to effect meaningful structural change. For me, this has meant attending protests, donating to local bail funds and causes with the goal of assisting protesters and Black folks, and shifting my spending focus to local Black-owned businesses when possible.
So therefore I don't think my voice is the one that needs uplifting right now. On various social media, I have seen a wonderful push to uplift the voices of Black poets and artists generally, so I don't wish to muddle this with promotion of my own work right now. This push to promote Black art and writing is incredibly important to keep going as time progresses, but it is especially important to keep the focus upon that right now.
Therefore, I have decided not to promote my own work on my social media as I usually would for at least a couple more weeks at this time. I will, however, continue to list the publications here on my website with a small announcement, just so I can keep my publication dates straight and chronological. And no one really reads this stuff anyway! So I don't think I'm taking too much space up by quietly released stuff here.
As time goes forward, I will certainly be vetting the places I submit my work to more thoroughly to make sure they are racially conscious and uphold mission statements that strive to uplift the voices of BIPOC writers. I think it can only help if other white and non-black writers, artists, and creators spend this time becoming more conscious about uplifting Black art and holding publications accountable for doing the same.
This all being said, I'd like to record that my poem "Our Semi-Permanent Penumbral Shadow" was published today in Yikes?, a Philly-based literature and culture online magazine. This is a part of their Poetry Week event that also accords with the beginning of Pride Month. I am thrilled that the artwork of my partner Pete Dennis is appearing alongside this poem. As the week goes on, two more of my poems will also appear on the Yikes? website, and I will announce them here on my website and list them on my Publications page, but I will refrain from advertising them on my social media until a later date. Click here to read the poem on their website.
But maybe go enjoy some Black art instead.