Esther Berlin in Conversation with Toni Giselle Stuart

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This week, Esther Belin speaks with Toni Giselle Stuart, a South African poet, performer, and facilitator. Belin says, “When I first heard Stuart’s poetry, I was moved by her use of sound and breath to create tension and emphasis. She works against fractionating the whole person in ways that offer healing.” We hear two poems by Stuart, “maghrib” and “midnight,” from the July/August 2022 issue of Poetry. The poems are from a new trilogy of speculative fiction. Stuart says of the genre, “Speculative fiction gave me space to explore questions around identity in a way that was less suffocating.” Belin and Stuart also get into rhythm as an integral aspect of acknowledging self and land, and of healing. In the world Staurt is building, she says, “Rhythm has a capital ‘R’.”

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