US-based poet drea brown shares her final blog post about her Fresh Milk residency, which took place from April 19 – May 10, 2017 as 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. Although there is a kind of finality in her writing this closing blog, it also comes with the knowledge that her time in Barbados was the start of something special; what she learned and the bonds she formed are sure to bring her back to the island in the future. Read more below:
I’ll begin with a confession. I think it has taken so long to write this final blog because in doing so, I have to admit the world I’ve returned to, full of its own responsibilities, is not a longwinded dream that I will wake from rocking in a chair on porch surrounded by blues and beauty, and the occasional mooing cow.
My last week of Fresh Milk was filled with serenity and laughter, with art and bold amazing voices. I found myself waking with pieces of poems in my mouth that stumbled onto scraps of napkins while coffee brewed. I rambled to Fresh Milk artists/team about all of these imaginings, all of these stories that kept unraveling. I shed layers and layers of fear, and leaned into the encouragement, and openness of those I’d come to cherish and respect.
A few days before leaving Barbados, I went to the Barbados Community College BFA portfolio art show, a major event in town, and walked around with my mouth gaped in a amazement from the intense beauty on those walls, the dismantling of taboo and stereotype, inquiries of identity, music, color, masculinities, sisterhood. That night, those walls, the sounds, the film shorts, still buzz in my head. I am eagerly anticipating what comes next for the bold emerging artists.
My last evening with Fresh Milk was also the night of artist talks and a gallery walk. Kraig Yearwood’s creations and residency experiments lined the walls and posed in corners. And, I was so inspired by the way he let go, and let his art decide the journey. There was such truth in that, surrendering to the will of the work. I was learning something similar, how to listen, how to see, and let my hands move as they desired. I read from new poems that night, and there were moments where I found myself surprised by the words I’d written, but they needed to be shared. And there is more to come.
I write this knowing I will be back. It feels impossible not to return. There’s more to be done.
This residency is supported by the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies