When I started researching history in the 1960s, a lot of women about whom I’ve subsequently written were actually footnotes to history. There was a perception that women weren’t important. And it’s true. Women were seen historically as far inferior to men.
Alchemy is the art of far and near, and I think poetry is alchemy in that way. It’s delightful to distort size, to see something that’s tiny as though it were vast.
We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavouring to stifle is a false opinion; and even if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.
In 1932, the predecessor organization, the CDC, took 299 black sharecroppers from the South who had syphilis. They offered them free healthcare, hot lunches, and free burial. They said you can only come to us for healthcare. These were men who were sharecroppers, and they had syphilis. They were never told they had syphilis.
Many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they’re not – because the thing they were good at at school wasn’t valued, or was actually stigmatized.
My obsessions stay the same – historical memory and historical erasure. I am particularly interested in the Americas and how a history that is rooted in colonialism, the language and iconography of empire, disenfranchisement, the enslavement of peoples, and the way that people were sectioned off because of blood.
For two decades the state has been taking liberties, and these liberties were once ours.
I am not one of those people who believe that MLK achieved more in martyrdom than he could have if he’d lived: imagine what a guiding influence he could have on the world were he still among us.
We then came to the Soviet Union. One day we were walking and carrying our banner and distributing a few leaflets in Russian to people, and we met two women on the road.