Liquid Stories: Writing & Teaching the Personal as a POC in White Literary Spaces
by Freda Epum
In a meeting with a prominent prize-winning author, she asked me, “Are you sure this really happened the way you think it did?” I was writing a series of poems confronting microaggressions I experience as a woman of color in predominantly white spaces. It was a poem about getting a flu shot in which the nurse focused on my dark skin noting that she “could not see the blood.” At the time, I was merely excited by the opportunity to meet with such a prominent author that it did not hit me that I was in fact talking to an older white woman with very different life experiences. The critique was short, “seems like you know what you’re doing.” I felt dismissed. Of course the black girl knows how to write about the black things. It was fitting.