t’ai freedom ford

marlene lopez

(ford, t’ai freedom) t’ai freedom ford is a high school English teacher and Cave Canem Fellow. In 2014, she was the winner of The Feminist Wire’s inaugural poetry contest judged by Evie Shocklee. She is a 2015 Center for Fiction Fellow and a 2015–16 Emerge-Surface-Be Fellow sponsored by The Poetry Project. ford’s debut, how to get over (Red Hen Press) is part instruction manual, part prayer, part testimony. ford’s poems witness via a series of “past life portraits” that navigate personal space as well as the imagined persona. The collection’s namesake poems speak to bullying and homophobia, blackness, whiteness and gentrification, and even directly address pop culture icons like Kanye West, Chaka Khan, and Nicky Minaj. Grounded in memory and re-memory, these poems pray in the voice of the ancestors and testify on their behalf.