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Reading and writing

Black female poets build their collective legacy

This weekend, a gathering of about 80 black women and poets will take place at the Awbury Arboretum in Germantown. For many, this will be the first time they meet.

Co-host Trapeta Mayson said the event will feel like a family reunion.

“If you’ve attended a family reunion or watched one on TV, you know there are family members who have never really met,” she said. “That joy and that fun that they have when they see each other, and the fact that we’re in this family writing community, I’m really looking forward to it.”

Mayson said the family of black women and women poets doesn’t really exist right now.

“There is a void,” she said. “We want to make sure that these artists and these women are counted, from the ancestors until today. We also want to make sure that we are fostering a legacy and building something that we can continue to build on.

Saturday’s event, called The Clearing, is a private day-long retreat for visiting poets, culminating in a public reading on the porch of the historic Francis Cope House at Awbury Arboretum from 3-5 p.m.

The Clearing is part of ConsenSISa three-phase project to identify, celebrate, and ultimately commemorate black women and women poets in Philadelphia, past and present.

The event is inspired by a scene from Toni Morrison’s novel “Beloved”, in which the character Baby Suggs gathers people in The Clearing, a hidden field inside a wooded areato pray, laugh, cry and dance.

Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson