Porsha Olayiwola – “Unnamed”

Porsha Olayiwola is Boston’s poet laureate, but I was unaware of her until I read a recent article in The Boston Globe magazine about her commission to write a poem exploring the history of Black Boston. The article shares how Porsha first came to Boston a decade ago to work at the Pine Street Inn and the cultural shock of moving from her predominantly black neighborhood in Chicago to Boston’s South End. She writes of her move to Boston and her experience over the past decade as she has come to make Boston her home, here.

But the reason I wrote this post is to share a fiery video of Porsha from a few years ago at the Camp Bar in St. Paul, Minnesota where she shared her unapologetic anger and frustration in her poem, Unnamed. It evokes strong emotion through language. Weaving upsetting and unsettling images and reminders of our past, Porsha shares her perspective on the power of a name. The language is strong and the anger palpable. It is a powerful poem.

You can read more of her work, see more of her videos, and learn more about Porsha online at porshaolayiwola.com. She is a force to be reckoned with and I hope to see and hear a lot more of her here in Boston in the years that follow.

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