Monica A. Hand is the author of me and Nina, (Alice James Books, 2012), short-listed for the 2013 Hurston Wright Legacy Award and finalist for the 2012 Foreword Book of the Year. Her poems have been published in pluck!: The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture, Oxford American, Spoon River Poetry Review, Black Renaissance Noire, The Sow’s Ear, The Wide Shore, Drunken Boat, American Creative Writers on Class, and Beyond the Frontier, African-American Poetry for the 21st Century. A Cave Canem Alum, she has an MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation from Drew University, and currently, she is a PhD candidate in Poetry at the University of Missouri- Columbia.
I do not seek adoration. I want to write poems that heal traumas of the heart and the spirit, resist injustices, and inspire positive change.
My dream destinations are France, India, Italy, Canada, Brazil, Portugal, Martinique, and Africa, in particular, Senegal. I love cities: San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, London, and Paris. Right now, for the new work, I’d like to experience those places that were major ports for the transport, purchase and sale of enslaved African people.
It is great to receive recognition for one’s work, to know that you are heard; but it is not what writes the poem. What is important is to focus on the creative process and writing your best work each time. What is this? For me this has to do with narrative and lyric, speech and music and ideas. My best poems express ideas concerned with civil rights and the human condition and do that in a way that the energy of the poem is felt in the gut, the heart, the throat and the head.
Online publication puts the production of poems back in the hands of the writer. It makes the work more accessible and reduces, maybe even eliminates borders. Online publication also creates a space for collaboration with visual artists and musicians.
Yes. In fact, I’m a huge advocate for the poet making their own chapbooks, a handmade book of poems printed on whatever paper is available, the pages sewn together with thread. Perfect bound books are more expensive and there may be challenges marketing these books. However many writers are employing online marketing options and having a lot of success without publishing middlemen.
I do not want to live anyone else’s life. There are many poets whose work I admire but I do not envy their life. What we see is filtered through so many different lenses: how do we know what we see is real? I may envy your life only because I don’t know the depth of your suffering or your joy. I want to live this life I have been given to the fullest.
I am a student of African Diaspora poetry – poetry written by people who are descendants of Africans. What I have discovered so far is musicality and a questioning. I do not want to generalize because the work is varied. There are many voices, yet on a level that I know only intuitively and plainly, when I read African Diaspora literature, I experience one voice, one love.
Some poems may be a confession box, some may be a denial bubble, some may be a river, some a storm, some are songs you can groove to, or something that wakes you up, and causes action and disruption. Neruda wrote, that “Poetry is an act of peace”. The poets I love imagine peace even when they are writing of disharmony. Poetry is all that we are and perhaps even what we are not; but for me, it is mostly what we envision.
Jan 15, 2015 0CALL FOR: This is an invitation call for poetry editors, scholars, professors and creative writing geniuses to be a part of a mammoth project on contemporary world poetry of major Diasporas. WHAT IT IS NOT: This is not another anthology or a mere collective of poetry. This is a much...