Award-winning poet and educator Shonda Buchanan (1968) was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a daughter of Mixed Bloods, tri-racial and tri-ethnic African American, American Indian and European-descendant families who migrated from North Carolina and Virginia in the mid-1700 to 1800s to Southwestern Michigan. Black Indian, her memoir, begins the saga of these migration stories of Free People of Color communities exploring identity, ethnicity, landscape and loss.
For the last 18 years, Shonda has taught Creative Writing, Composition and Critical Theory at Loyola Marymount University, Hampton University and William & Mary College. An Eloise Klein-Healy Scholarship recipient, a Sundance Institute Writing Arts fellow, a Jentel Artist Residency fellow and a PEN Center Emerging Voices fellow, Shonda has received grants from the California Community Foundation, Arts Midwest/National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Program and several grants from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
Her first book of poetry, Who's Afraid of Black Indians?, was nominated for the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and the Library of Virginia Book Awards. Literary Editor of Harriet Tubman Press, her second collection of poetry, Equipoise: Poems from Goddess Country was published by San Francisco Bay Press. Shonda's poetry and essays have been featured in numerous anthologies. Freelance writer for the LA Weekly since 1991, and Indian Country Today, the Los Angeles Times and the Writer's Chronicle, Shonda is completing a novel and a collection of poetry about the iconic singer, concert pianist and Civil Rights activist, Nina Simone. For more information visit, wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/black-indian. Follow Shonda @shondabuchanan.
Award-winning author and educator Shonda Buchanan is the former Interim Chair/Assistant Professor of the Department of English & Foreign Languages at Hampton University. The fall 2017 Writer-in-Residence at William & Mary College, Shonda’s family memoir, Black Indian, will be released by Wayne State University Press in Fall 2018.
As a culture and literary arts ambassador and lecturer, Shonda has conducted workshops and presentations for the U.S. Government Accountability Organization, the U.S. Embassy of Kuala Lumpur/U.S. Department of State, the Athens Institute for Education and Research in Athens, Greece, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, the Hampton Roads Writers Conference, the Poetry Society of Virginia and numerous others.
Her poetry and essays have been featured in numerous anthologies including The Seventh Wave, Urban Voices: 51 Poems from 51 American Poets, Silver Birch Press, Art Meets Literature: An Undying Love Affair, Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam, Step into a World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature, Geography of Rage: Remember the Los Angeles Riots of 1992, and Catch the Fire!!! A Cross-Generational Anthology of Contemporary African-American Poetry, Rivendale, LongStoryShort, and Voices from Leimert Park, two poetry anthologies which she edited.
As a journalist and professor, she engages issues of selfhood and human agency, race and ethnicity, class and gender, as well as technology and environment.
For more information, visit shondabuchanan.com, or Poets & Writers pw.org/content/shonda_buchanan.
Buchanan, Shonda. Black Indian: A Memoir. Wayne State University Press, 2018
Buchanan, Shonda. Equipoise: Poems from Goddess Country. San Francisco Press, 2017
Buchanan, Shonda. Voices from Leimert Park REDUX: A Poetry Anthology, Harriet Tubman Press. 2017
Buchanan, Shonda. Who’s Afraid of Black Indians? Poetica Publishing, 2012
Buchanan, Shonda. Voices from Leimert Park: A Poetry Anthology, Tsehai Publishers, 2006
EQUIPOISE: POEMS FROM GODDESS COUNTRY
"Shonda Buchanan’s Equipoise belongs on shelves with both feminist and mythological volumes. It moves the reader back and forth between a kind of fever-dream swamp mist and a recognizable contemporary America — with wisps of the primeval mist continuing to cling to the familiar present. In a ravenous attempt to absorb and render the power and essence of Woman, these sensual, violent, archetypal poems stretch the marveling mind from Eve to Ethiopia, from Magdala to Medusa, from Hathor to Harlem, from Delphi to a desert in Arizona. These are poems of blood— sacrificial, menstrual, sacerdotal, and, finally, familial."
Poet Laureate of Virginia, Emerita
Author of Moon Road, Its Ghostly Workshop, and The Humility of the Brutes
Purchase the book here.
WHO'S AFRAID OF BLACK INDIANS?
Who's Afraid of Black Indians? is a difficult yet beautiful collection of poetry that peeks into one American family's cultural window. Wanting to forget the past, this chapbook of poetry explores the journey Shonda’s ancestors took from North Carolina to Tennessee, to Indiana and finally Michigan, and the flight and fight to escape racial persecution and racial classification. Yet it is also a book about the recovery of an identity--the intersection of Blacks and Indians in this country. Shonda and her family, like so many other “bi-racial” Native Americans, suffered from not knowing their full roots, and the ills of assimilation, all the while and enduring society's ever-evolving definition of them. This book will hopefully help other Black Indians, as well as bi-racial and tri-racial peoples, research, reclaim and celebrate their multifaceted heritage.
Purchase the hardcopy here or the e-book here.