"Writers— like so many groups of people—are not monolithic. So, for myself, the responsibility is a hydra-headed practice of witnessing and action. That means accountability—to a greater world and to, especially, my own spiritual ecosystem. No matter how inward or outward my gaze, no matter how unbearable and impossible, I must try to keep my hundred eyes open and my thousand hands open, translating, transcribing, and making offerings wherever I travel, even if it’s only my own interior." - See more at: http://www.pen.org/interview/pen-ten-rachel-eliza-griffiths#sthash.Zp39MgTq.dpufRead More
ZJM: Your images, for me, invoke ideas about the conventions of gaze upon the black female body. Do you feel that your images serve as an interruption to this convention?
REG: Kahlo once said, "I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best." I photograph the black body because I know it and at the same time I know it from the practice of the directed, reductive gaze that seeks to control and to erase its humanity. I definitely think that my images can be viewed as interruptions to the convention of the viewer's gaze but they are doing something else far more deeply, which is private for me and perhaps, other bodies of color. The more I interrupt and subvert the stereomythographies about black women's bodies, the more freed and open I become to discover, embody, engage, and liberate my own language and imagination in terms of identity. And through that intense concentrate I know it opens up a greater context beyond me.
"I remembered how it felt, as a young black woman writer, to be seen. When you are seen you can no longer disappear." - Rachel Eliza Griffiths
See more at: http://www.pen.org/essay/eyes-exile-and-opportunity-banning-toni-morrisons-bluest-eye#sthash.Z4tEOBFb.dpuf
"Griffiths speaks frankly of personal violation and the use of the body for all sorts of raw imagery and metaphor. Bodies are both blessed and oppressive. As much violence is done to them as beauty extracted from them. A series of prose poems in the first section all speak to the desires of women to break free of the bonds that hold them, the violence done to them by men and by society." - Jeff Lennon, The RumpusRead More
Rachel Eliza Griffiths and Poetry Editor Nathan McClain in conversation.
"Tough with feeling and far from sentimental, Griffiths’ poems use the artist’s eye for detail to suffuse into and extract meaning from emblematic referents to the phoenix, all kinds of birds, flowers and flame, rolling heads, ghosts, always women, and of course Frida Kahlo. The poems often behave as a kind of psychological ekphrasis – a woman in situ with mythology and memory, acted upon by greater forces than simply human." - Khadijah QueenRead More