The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

An Interview of Cheryl Boyce-Taylor by Keisha-Gaye Anderson

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Arrival: An Interview of Cheryl Boyce-Taylor by Keisha-Gaye Anderson

 

Cheryl Boyce-Taylor’s Arrival is a much-anticipated poetry collection by the Trinidadian-born writer. Here, Cheryl is interviewed by Keisha-Gaye Anderson at the Five Myles Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, on June 14, 2017.

Arrival is a love story between a mother and her daughter.

The poems are road maps connecting one generation to another. The narrative begins in 1950 with a woman who is pregnant with twins. In her seventh month she delivers a stillborn boy, and a baby girl weighing less than two pounds. During this tumultuous period the father leaves the family and has an affair.

At thirteen, the girl is sent to live with her aunt in America leaving her mother behind in beautiful Trinidad. A hybrid dialogue ensues when she finds herself caught between two worlds. She switches back and forth from dialect to Standard English, searching for her spiritual center in a body that’s losing parts of itself to diabetes. Twenty years later she gives birth to twins, only one baby survives.

With her mother’s love and support she becomes a poet and a productive member of her community.

 

Thanks to Five Myles Gallery and Donna Lee Weber for the video.


Photo by Peter Dressel

Cheryl Boyce-Taylor is a poet and workshop facilitator. The recipient of the 2015 Barnes and Noble Writers For Writers Award, she is the founder and curator of Calypso Muse and the Glitter Pomegranate Performance Series. Cheryl earned an MFA in Poetry from Stonecoast: The University of Southern Maine, and an MSW from Fordham University. She is the author of four collections of poetry: Raw Air, Night When Moon Follows, Convincing the Body, and Arrival. A poetry judge for The New York Foundation for the Arts, and The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, she has facilitated poetry work-shops for Cave Canem, Poets & Writers, and The Caribbean Literary and Cultural Center. Her poetry has been commissioned by The Joyce Theater and the National Endowment for the Arts for Ronald K. Brown: Evidence, A Dance Company. A VONA fellow, her work has been published in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Pluck!, Killings Journal of Arts & Letters, and Adrienne. Her life papers and port-folio are stored at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in NYC.

Keisha-Gaye Anderson is a Jamaican-born poet, author, visual artist, and media professional living in Brooklyn, NY. Gathering the Waters (Jamii Publishing 2014) is her first poetry collection. She is a past participant of the VONA Voices and Callaloo writing workshops, and was short-listed for the Small Axe Literary Competition. Her work has been published widely in literary journals, including The Mom Egg Review, Renaissance Noire, Mosaic Literary Magazine, and African Voices Magazine. Keisha received her M.F.A. in creative writing from The City College, CUNY. Follow her @KeishaGaye1.

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