Even before the pandemic, Simone John‘s (Poetry Fellow ’20) creative practice was headed in a direction that would serve her well during months of isolation and uncertainty.
Since the 2016 election, she had been considering how her ancestors navigated times of turmoil.
“Understanding that this is not the first crisis my community has had. And that we survived, because I’m here. And so, how can I access some of that wisdom?”
In this audio clip, John reads her poem Recessive Genes, Maternal and discusses how inheritance and the voices of her “Aunties” – both real relatives and figures from the Black literary canon – help shape her writing and creative practice.
Listen to Simone John. Read a transcript.
Simone John is a 2020 recipient of the Mass Cultural Council Fellowship in Poetry and the author of the poetry collection Testify (Octopus Books 2017) and the chapbook Collateral (Octopus Books 2016). Her poetry and essays have appeared in Wildness, The Pitkin Review, Public Pool, and the Writer in the World.