homecoming — language’s capacity to guide

Sula returning to the Bottom / Beloved birth / fully

dressed / old skin / oceans in her skirt / tadpole

in her eye / a tree / planted by the waters / lift

ev'ry voice & / say my name / shining /

Toni Morrison flows: "All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.”

If language, like water, has the capacity to return, how might it also serve as a guide?

Channeling memory and spouting survival, four poets join in a fluid reading of works that engulf, drizzle, and spill over and across the theme of homecoming. Featuring Jayden McClamNatachi MezTan Paylor, and Mandy Wagnac.

Curated by Bryn Evans

Jayden A. McClam (they/them) is a student of rest and water from Buffalo, New York. A multi-medium writer and healer, they are a senior at Howard University where they major in Psychology and minor in Africana Studies and English. Jayden‘s work, couched in Audre Lorde’s understanding of the erotic, explores Black sapphic desire as a sacred practice of re/claiming the self. They were named runner-up for the 2021 May Miller Creative Writing Award, and Jayden’s poetry is featured in The Amistad.

Natachi Mez is a Nigerian, Igbo American spoken word poet, emcee, and teaching artist from the Sacramento area in California who celebrates joy, community, rhythm, and introspection in her work. Natachi is a two time finalist at CUPSI, an international college poetry slam, and has featured at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Oberlin College, as well as at venues in Accra, Copenhagen, and Istanbul. Natachi creates dynamic, interactive experiences that deepen audience engagement and celebrate community voice, making fluid the boundaries between featured artists and audience members. Natachi is a lover of plantains, is always down to hop into a dance circle, and is a business program manager focused on career development, intercultural awareness, diversity, and design.

Mandy is a Haitian poet who hails from Long Island, New York. She‘s currently a Junior at Columbia University studying English and African American studies. She‘s interested in the way Black women have been able to put language to experiences so many of us haven’t had the words for but still understood. More than anything else, she loves to dance with her friends in places they shouldn’t be.


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