Moving Across Disciplines and Genres: Teaching Shange

In “Moving Across Disciplines and Genres: Teaching Shange,” scholars, writers, and teachers explore what it means to teach Shange’s works as “embodied” texts. Using music, dance, voice and gesture, Shange “attacks, deforms and maims” the English language to create new spaces and forms more suited to afrodiasporic and black female experience. The video gives tips […]

Her Pen is a Machete: The Art of Ntozake Shange

In “Her Pen is a Machete: The Art of Ntozake Shange,” scholars, writers, and artists explore Ntozake Shange’s genre-defying achievements and ongoing influences. From her invention of the choreopoem to her revolutionary approaches to the body, movement, voice, music, dance, poetry, and prose, Shange’s work continues to create space for black women on the page […]

“It’s OK to Create Art from Wounded Spaces”: Video Interview with Filmmaker Stacey Muhammad

Introduction by Gabrielle Davenport One might describe Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf as a veritable celebration of process. In the choreopoem, Shange outlines the healing experiences of several women of color and highlights the role of their communities in supporting their rehabilitation. In her dramatic […]

“There is No Incongruence Here”: Hispanic Notes in the Works of Ntozake Shange

Download “‘There is No Incongruence Here’: Hispanic Notes in the Works of Ntozake Shange” (PDF) here. Reprinted with permission from CLA (College Language Association) Journal. Vanessa K. Valdés’ groundbreaking essay “‘There is No Incongruence Here’: Hispanic Notes in the Works of Ntozake Shange” was one of the first works to comprehensively examine Spanish language and […]

A Hole in the Sky

Download “A Hole in the Sky” (PDF) here. Reprinted with permission from World Literature Today. During his distinguished career, Nigerian born writer Niyi Osundare has worked in a variety of genres from scholarly essays to plays and poetry. His works include Songs of the Market Place (1984), Waiting Laughters (1990) Songs of the Season (1990), […]

Ntozake Shange on Stage and Screen

In this video Tina Campt introduces a panel discussion of Tyler Perry’s 2010 film version of Ntozake Shange’s 1975 Obie Award-winning play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. In the video, Ms. Shange speaks candidly with Soyica Diggs Colbert, the Assistant Professor of English at Dartmouth College and now […]

Performing Shange

In this video, “Performing Shange,” Barnard students pay tribute to Ms. Shange with ensemble performances of dance, music, and theater. Led by music producer and BCRW Alumnae Fellow Ebonie Smith ’07, the students perform excerpts from Ntozake Shange’s oeuvre. Their collective discussions of Shange’s work resulted in adaptations and original pieces that are both directly […]

Recommended Reading and Online Resources

“I use poetry the way some people use encyclopedias: to find out more. I listen for a voice that springs from a real breath, a sweating body that speaks, or I stop reading.” —Ntozake Shange, interviewed in “Rescuing the Canon” in June Jordan’s Poetry for the People: A Revolutionary Blueprint (New York: Routledge, 1995). Works […]

Introduction: Singing a “Black Girl’s Song” at Barnard and Beyond

it is possible to start a phrase with a word and end with a gesture/ that’s how I’ve lived my life/ that’s how I continue to study /produce black art —Ntozake Shange, “why I had to dance”[1] In the academic year 2012-2013, renowned poet, performance artist, playwright, and novelist Ntozake Shange, Barnard class of 1970, […]

Black Feminist Collectivity in Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf

Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf opens with a poem entitled “dark phrases.” The first stanza reads: dark phrases of womanhood of never havin been a girl half-notes scattered without rhythm/ no tune distraught laughter fallin over a black girl’s shoulder it’s funny/ it’s hysterical the […]