The Body Family is my poetry collection-in-progress which explores my family’s escape from Idi Amin’s Ugandan genocide and the aftermath of healing in America. In it, I reclaim my womanhood, culture, and spirituality from a legacy of violence.
In preparing to write The Body Family, I earned an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University. I also taught writing at NYU, honing my skills as a critical analyst and writer of literature. I wrote some of the poems for the collection during that time. In 2011, I returned to Los Angeles to spend time with my parents, who were both ill, and with my grandmother, visiting from Uganda. My grandmother was 96; I knew that that might be the last time I saw her. So, from 2011-2013, I spoke with them concerning their experience in Idi Amin’s Ugandan genocide and journaled more drafts of poems. I then applied to Junot Diaz’s Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA) to workshop these poems. I was accepted and spent a weeklong residency in June 2013 working on these poems. The experience at VONA was revelatory.
I have also been fortunate to have poems from this work-in-progress featured in the North American Review, Kalyani Magazine, Ruminate Magazine, Potluck Magazine, Fjords Literary Journal, Joint Literary Magazine, Salamander Journal and Literary Mama. Essays exploring these ideas have also been published in The Daily Beast, Salon, Gawker, Ms. Magazine online, The Feminist Wire and The Root, among others. Now, I just need a few months of work time to edit the manuscript and send it out for publication.
Funded by LA South Bay, CA (April 2015)