Poets have long used ekphrasis—the vivid description of a piece of visual art—as a way of exploring the deep complexity of representation, the relationship between the artist and her art, and to make legible things which may otherwise seem inexpressible. Fellow Meta DuEwa Jones is herself a poet and a scholar of poetry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is an associate professor of English. She is currently working on a new project exploring the relationship between African American poets and visual artists and the ways that their works speak to one another.
In this podcast, Jones discusses how these texts inform, integrate, and translate the experience of blackness across genres as they trace the cultural underpinnings of the contemporary African Diasporic world. She elucidates the relationship between efforts to tell the story of the “I” and the story of “we”—whether through words, image, or art in the work of artists and writers such as Glenn Ligon, June Jordan, and Shirley Graham Du Bois.