This Special Interview Episode is a live recording of the event Love & Resistance: Poetry & Conversation. The event was in collaboration with NH PANTHER whose mission is to help end racism and systemic biases through community engagement, direct mutual aid, education and curriculum reform, and youth empowerment programming. I sat down with Ben Bacote, Co-Founder and Director of NH PANTHER. We talked about poetry and how it resonated both historically and personally to the Black experience. Throughout the conversation we reference a slideshow that’s available here. We were hosted by the Center of Diversity, Equity and Social Justice at Plymouth State University on February 16th, 2023.
Ben Bacote is a queer, black, teacher, writer, and dad living in Campton, NH. He teaches Humanities at Waterville Valley Academy, writes for Concord Monitor’s 3-Minute Civics column, and is the proud parent of three kids. He is deeply engaged with his students and strives to create a space in which they can learn to think critically and to develop their own voices. Originally from North Carolina, Ben fell in love with New Hampshire when he moved here for a time as a teenager, and so returned to attend Plymouth State University, where he earned his BA. In 2019, he graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with an MA in English. Then, in the spring of 2020, after the murder of George Floyd, he followed his eldest child onto the town common to protest; this inspired the founding of NH PANTHERs. He hopes to help create widespread, systemic change by engaging his community at the local level and following the lead of today’s youth.
Poem(s) discussed: “On Being Brought to America” by Phillis Wheatley, “In the Country Where My Parents Met in a Taxicab” by Diannely Antigua, “won’t you celebrate with me” by Lucille Clifton, and “Something Like a Sonnet for Phillis Wheatley” by June Jordan
Photo Credit: Najee Brown @authoredby
Theme Music: Stu Dias @stuartdiasplaysmusicsometimes
To find an archive of the Gluten Free Segment: Writing Prompts, click here.
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This podcast is sponsored by the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program. Please consider donating to this volunteer-run, non-profit organization by visiting www.pplpnh.org/donate.