This conversation between Jennifer Bartell and DéLana R.A. Dameron focuses on Dameron’s new book, Weary Kingdom (Palmetto Poetry Series-University of South Carolina Press) and Black Southern poetics. It’s the first in a series of interviews with Black Women Poets with Southern roots.
Jennifer Bartell: You were raised in Columbia, South Carolina, although you now live in Brooklyn. How has the experiences of being Black, woman and Southern guided your journey as a poet?
DéLana R.A. Dameron: At almost five and a half years, Brooklyn has now become the place I have lived the longest since I left South Carolina to attend college at UNC Chapel Hill. I have lived in NYC (the rest of the time in Harlem with a brief stint in NJ) for ten years this July. I swear, when I moved to the mid-Atlantic, I never thought that I would stay this long.
Before I moved to NYC and worked with youth in education, I had identified as Black and woman. The South didn’t necessarily factor into my identity, I guess because I lived there, and I was—and later, did try to escape it.