US-based poet drea brown shares her first blog post about her Fresh Milk residency, which is part of a new partnership between Fresh Milk and the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at the University of Texas in Austin. drea’s first week has been a chance for her to exhale, coming directly from the rigours of academia, and allowing her to reconnect with her creative self while delving into Caribbean literature, ancestry and spirituality. Read more below:
When I was awarded this residency at Fresh Milk, there was a thrill that ran through me that there are not yet words to fully describe. But I can tell you about the rush of colours that came with it. There was gold in my chest, flecks of it covering my hands, a red in my palm that was too brilliant to look away from; for days I dreamt of blues I had never seen. And then, a whirlwind of days, an early morning flight, and somehow I walked right out of the halls of academia and back into my poet self, off the plane and into a welcomed rainstorm. Ready or not. It is still all settling in.
This is the end of my first week at Fresh Milk and already it is moving too fast. Each day I have been writing and working to devour a stack of carefully selected books: Caribbean short stories and poems, books about tracing ancestry, about leaning into the spirit, about shadows and ghosts, and making space to hold it all. At night when the sky is black and the cat has crept in and the fireflies are the only outside light, I listen to the deep sigh of horses and give thanks for this opportunity to breathe salt air and spread out in stanzas.
I am grateful. An immense thank you to the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at the University of Texas in Austin, for the continued push, uplift and support in my scholarship and in my art. Thank you Fresh Milk Team, Katherine and Annalee who quietly add to my corner stack of books, who continue to help me open and relax and let go of worry. I am grateful for the Orisha and my Egun, who each day helps me survive and shine.
This residency is supported by the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies