Maria James-Thiaw is a performance poet, playwright, and professor at Central Penn College. She’s also a friend of mine from the MFA program at Goddard College.
Maria has been playing with words since she was old enough to understand them, and has a phenomenal talent for wielding them with power. Her most recent project, the choreopoem Reclaiming My Time, is based on the stories of women who lived through the Jim Crow era. She’s also the CEO and co-founder of the Reclaim Artist Collective, which works with artists and individuals in marginalized communities.
We talk in this interview about art and activism, performing written work, just what a “choreopoem” is, and how Reclaiming My Time came to be. (Stay tuned for a future interview with Maria in the future where we discuss the connection between art and politics, specifically the question of whether it’s possible to make art that’s not political.)
I think we need to bring poetry alive for the people—for the common person—so that they can feel what we feel, because it comes from the deepest part of us.Maria James-Thiaw
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