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National Poetry Month Spotlight: Bettina Judd

Welcome to National Poetry Month, 2015! We’re celebrating all month long. Each day we will bring you a poem we love–a selection from one of our published or forthcoming collections. In turn, the featured poets will introduce poems they love. Happy April!
Today’s featured poet is Bettina Judd, author of Patient.
 
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Betsey Invents The Speculum
Fall 1845
Introducing the bent handle of the spoon I saw everything, as no man had ever seen before.
 – from The Story of My Life by J. Marion Sims
I have bent in other ways
to open the body     make space
More pliable     than pewter,
my skin may be less giving
Great discoveries are made
on cushioned lessons and hard falls
Sims invents the speculum
I invent the wincing
the if you must of it
the looking away
the here of discovery
 
 
 
 
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Bettina has chosen to introduce “Incident” by Amiri Baraka.
She says: An online poem that I return to again and again is actually a video, it is from the #BlackPoetsSpeakOut movement: Rachel Eliza Griffiths’ reading of Amiri Baraka’s “Incident.” This video is haunting, timely, and puts a slightly different frame on the original poem. Her inclusion of words from Carrie Mae Weems, and Gil Scott Heron (as well as Alan Ginsberg) demonstrates and expands the core premise of #BlackPoetsSpeak out: That responses to violence against Black people has been an ongoing concern for Black poets and artists broadly. 
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coolerBorn in Baltimore and raised in Southern California, Bettina Judd is an interdisciplinary writer, artist and performer. She is an alumna of Spelman College and the University of Maryland and is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at the College of William and Mary.
She has received fellowships from the Five Colleges, The Vermont Studio Center and the University of Maryland. She is a Cave Canem Fellow and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in poetry. Her poems have appeared in Torch, Mythium, Meridians and other journals and anthologies.
Most recently, her collection of poems titled Patient. won the Black Lawrence Press Hudson Book Prize and was published in November of 2014. As a singer, she has been invited to perform for audiences in Vancouver, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Paris, New York, and Mumbai.