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Daily Helping for April 19th, 2021 – Leah Anderson – You Ask Me What I Am So You May Know How To Fear Me

A photo of poet Leah Anderson onstage, mid-performance, standing in front of a mic with one hand raised.

I could listen to this poem all day. Not only are the words incredible, but the delivery itself is simply stunning. The way that Leah Anderson speaks, the way her voice ebbs and flows; it’s almost like a caress, a whisper, a calming balm for the soul. Which is extraordinary, considering the content of her words, but I’m sure that’s also the point.

“I can tell you my history by the things my eyes have seen, but you learn nothing by the shape of them.”

I have no personal experience of what she is describing. I am not of mixed race descent and I am white, so I have never been asked the kind of questions she describes in this poem. But I can feel the frustration and the hear the undercurrent of weariness that exists in the soothing glide of her voice.

“She’s told to go back to where she came from as if where she came from is not where she is.”

The words in this poem are gorgeously arranged and beautiful in their construction, but they are also uncomfortable in their meaning. Necessary, but deeply uncomfortable. And that is why I could listen to this poem all day. I want to marvel at its beauty, but I also want to learn from what that beauty is saying. And thanks to this extraordinary performance by Leah Anderson, I can do both.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!