In our very first live episode and the finale of season one, we talk with Nickole Brown about “totem objects,” literary code-switching, permission to return to one’s roots, and her special relationship with her grandmother who “might not be like your grandmother.” If Nickole’s poems drove, they would own a Prius with faux leopard-skin covered seats.
“I realized I had to go back to where I came from in order to find my voice. When I did, it was this mother tongue. It was my grandmother. It was my mama. It was then that the accent that I had to lose, I had to return to in order to speak my own poems.”
Nickole Brown's first collection, Sister, a novel-in-poems, was first published in 2007 by Red Hen Press and a new edition was reissued by Sibling Rivalry Press in October 2018. Her second book, a biography-in-poems called Fanny Says, came out from BOA Editions in 2015. She was an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for four years until she gave up her beloved time in the classroom in hope of writing full time. She lives with her wife, poet Jessica Jacobs, in Asheville, NC, where she volunteers at a four different animal sanctuaries.
Ciona Rouse is a poet and author of Vantablack (Third Man Books, 2017). Rouse is poetry editor of the literary journal Wordpeace and cohost of the Re/Verb podcast from Third Man Books. Her work can be found in Native Magazine, Gabby Journal, Matter: a journal of political poetry and commentary and Talking River. In addition to curating many poetry experiences and workshops in Nashville, she also collaborates with various artists to create multi-disciplinary performances, including the show The Longest Night with saxophonist Jeff Coffin and composer Jason Shelton at Oz Arts, the Blair House Collective with musician and poet Adia Victoria and poet Caroline Randall Williams and Nick Cave: Feat with the visual artist Nick Cave for the Frist Art Museum, which was a performance at the Schermmerhorn Symphony Center in 2018, which was recognized as the year's best poetry performance in the Nashville Scene.
Kendra DeColo's most recent book of poems, My Dinner with Ron Jeremy, is availalbe from Third Man Books (August 2016). Her first book Thieves in the Afterlife(Saturnalia Books, 2014), was selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the 2013 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize and named “Favorite Nashville Poetry Book of 2014” by the Nashville Scene. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Ninth Letter, Indiana Review, Copper Nickel, Verse Daily, Third Man Books' Language Lessons Vol. I, and elsewhere. She has received awards and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Millay Colony, and the Tennessee Arts Commission. She is book editor at Muzzle Magazine and guest teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.