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 […]

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, […]

Learning How to Listen: Ntozake Shange’s Work as Aesthetic Primer

What follows is a purely subjective analysis. The primer of my title refers to several meanings of the word: A prayer book or devotional manual for the use of lay people. A book that covers the basic elements of a subject. For over three decades, Ntozake Shange’s writing has been a source of pleasure and […]