Black Metamorphoses pierces a 2,000+ year-old veil inspired by a range of Ovidian myths while resisting a direct conversion of the work. This collection explores the Black psyche, body, and soul, through inversion and brazen confrontation of work that has shaped Western civilization. In a poetic range of forms, voices, and rhythms, the reader is bathed in ancestral memory, myth, and sense of the timeless of the shapeshifting, resilient Black body. This second collection steps into the realm of a direct gaze with history while engaging with imagination to create an alternate universe of telling.
GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues by Shanta Lee
Diode Editions, 2021 * Order here
What does it mean to move away from the shadow of one’s mother, parents, or family in order to come into being within this world? As collective memory within the Black diaspora has been ruptured, GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA time travels by creating and recapturing memory from a fractured past to survive in the present and envision a future. In her first full-length collection GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues, navigates between formal and vernacular styles to introduce the reader to a myriad of subjects such as scientific facts that link butterflies to female sexuality and vulnerability; whispers of classical Greek myth; H.P. Lovecraft’s fantastical creature, Cthulhu; and the traces of African mythmaking and telling. Beneath the intensity, longing, seeking, wondering, and the ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ voice that sometimes tussles with sadness, there is a movement of sass and a will that refuses to say that it has been broken. The door is left ajar in this ongoing conversation of the Black female body that walks the spaces of the individual within a collective; the tensions between inherited and hidden narratives; and the present within a history and future that is still being imagined.
Read the Reviews:
"The Dream Is Still All Over Your Skin": A Conversation with Shanta Lee The Adroit Journal by Elizabeth Marie Bolaños
She of the Sea
Womancraft Publishing, 2021 * Order here
Includes the lyrical essay, "Scylla and Glaucus Re-Imagined." She of the Sea is a lyrical exploration of the call of the sea and the depth of our connection to it, rooted in the author’s personal experience living on the coast of the Celtic Sea, in Ireland. This book spans from coastal plants to the colour blue, pebbles to prayer, via shapeshifting and suicidal ideation, erosion and immersion, cold water swimming and water birth, seaweed and cyanotypes, from Japanese freedivers and Celtic sea goddesses, selkies to surfing, and mermaids to Mary. She of the Sea is a strange and wonderful deep dive into the inner sea and the Feminine, exploring where the real and the magical, the salty and the sacred meet, within and without, and what implications this has for us as both individuals…and a species in these tumultuous times. Dreamlike, meditative, poetic, She of the Sea is a love song. To the ocean. To becoming.
Pirene's Fountain (Vol. 14 Iss. 22)
Edited by Megan Merchant
Glass Lyre Press, 2021 *Order here
Features the poem "Curatorial Tags" from the full length collection GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues (Diode Editions, 2021). "In Greek myth, naiad Pirene was grief-stricken by the death of her son, Cenchrias. She dissolved into a fountain of tears outside the gates of Corinth. It was said the essence of a naiad was tied to her spring; she could no longer exist if the spring dried up, as is often the case with inspiration and poetry. Pirene’s fountain was one of three springs associated with Pegasus, and was sacred to the muses, who drank off the waters for fresh inspiration." (Glass Lyre Press)
NOMBONO: An Anthology of Speculative Poetry by BIPOC Creators From Around the World edited by Akua Lezli Hope
Sundress Publications, 2021 * Download Here
Features "The Return of the Hyena Man," from the full length collection illustrated by Alan Blackwell, Black Metamorphoses. "NOMBONO, drawing from the Zulu word for “visionary,” brings together mystical dreams and possibilities that are at times both striking and devastating. This anthology asks: are we on a bright threshold or at the edge of a dark precipice? Are we about to take flight and evolve or plummet into cataclysm? Around each corner in this book there may be a hyena man, salmon women, Mananggal, prayers, or curses. There is steady, unbroken eye contact, and there is fierce joy and fury. Here we have the limitless, boundless exploration of resplendent worlds." (Sundress Publication)
Dark Goddess: An Exploration of the Sacred Feminine
Fleming Museum of Art Exhibition Catalogue, 2022-23
Dark Goddess: An Exploration of the Sacred Feminine is a mix of ethnography, cultural anthropology, an exploration of the sacred feminine, and a co-creation with each of the
individuals featured. Several years in the making, the series started off as an initial inquiry: Who or what is the Goddess when she is allowed to misbehave? Who is the Goddess when she is allowed to expand beyond bearer of life, nurturer, and all of the other boxes that we confine women to within our society? Shanta Lee further shares, “Bringing Dark Goddess to others has been an ongoing inquiry and invitation outside of my comfort zone,” she shared.
Confessions from a Dark Goddess: A Travelogue
An exhibition publication created for the
Fleming Museum of Art, 2022-23
The concept of the Dark Goddess has lived in Shanta Lee's body many years before it manifested into an exhibition.
What does it feel like in the body?
How does it look in the world when we are exhausted and need to be reminded of the power of the sacred feminine?
A slice of the answers to these questions reside within this travelogue written and published to accompany the exhibition at the Fleming Museum of Art. It is part meditation, part poetry, part snapshots of bringing the viewer inside this experience of a panoptic vision where the seen body sees, questions, and responds in a conversation that continues. The panopticon—‘all seeing’— is based on the philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s (1748-1832) idea of creating the perfect prison, an idea that was further explored by others including Michel Foucault (1926-1984). Within this work, memory becomes its own sentient thing through words, images, and what is not written or said.
Roads Taken: Contemporary Vermont Poetry, Third Edition
Green Writers Press, 2022 * Order Here
Features two poems. "Roaming the Deadlands" from the full length collection GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues. (Diode Editions, 2021). The second poem featured in this anthology, "A Return to the Mahavidyas," originally appears in another format within Shanta Lee's “Confessions from a Dark Goddess: A Travelogue” which appears within the 2022 museum publication for the multimedia exhibition, Dark Goddess: An Exploration of the Sacred Feminine. This exhibition has been featured at the Southern Vermont Arts Center (SVAC, 2021) and at the Fleming Museum of Art in Burlington, VT (February 2022 - May 2023). "A Return to the Mahavidyas" was inspired by the project and David Kinsley’s Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine: The Ten Mahavidyas.
The Massachusetts Review , Volume 64, Issue 1
Front Cover by Fred Wilson
X from the Exit Art portfolio Tantra 2005
This volume features Amalialú Posso Figueroa's 'Fidelia Córdoba' Translated from Spanish by Jeffrey Diteman and Shanta Lee. The short story, 'Fidelia Córdoba', is one of other short stories within Amalialú Posso Figueroa's original collection, Vean vé, mis nanas negras.
More About This Issue:
"We open this issue with a series of stories tracking the confrontation of modernity—capitalism, colorism, science—with tradition, where we find the latter not entirely defenseless again the former. Asnia Asim’s Kemal is known better than he knows, Chiou Charng-Ting’s finches fly only so far, and neither fire nor flood cleanse Tabish Khair’s privileged protagonists of their crimes. No wonder, then, that Oliver de la Paz’s diaspora sonnets and pantoum are centered in a “location / just beyond reach” or that, in Allegra Hyde’s wonderfully if barely futuristic tale, with the second coming of Tocqueville, beauty is never simply skin-deep. Martín Espada’s janitor may have crimes of his own to cleanse, but we also find, in Martín’s lovely, luminescent tribute to our founding editor Jules Chametzky, that tradition can, must, be passed on, and treasured. Despite the fears of Pier Paolo Pasolini, in some corners of our postmodern planet the fireflies remain, their light conserved. What’s more, the subaltern may not just speak; at times she actually wins one, as she does in the wickedly funny letters of Chuma Nwokolo, where his female protagonist outwits simultaneously the police, her husband, and his kidnappers, taking us all along for the ride."
Excerpt from the message about this issue from Jim Hicks, Executive Editor of the journal
From Root to Seed: Black, Brown, and Indigenous Poets Write the Northeast Edited by Samaa Abdurraqib
Foreword by Shanta Lee
NatureCulture, Fall 2023 * Click here for more details
"From Root to Seed lifts up the poetic voices of Black, Brown, and Indigenous writers who have deep historical and current connections to the land, places, and the natural world of the Northeastern region of the United States. The 25 contemporary writers featured in this collection share poetry that engages with nature and land from a wide variety of vantage points, from the grand scale – imaging Sarah Baartman dreaming of boats and oceans – to the minute – an instruction on how to live like a snail. With its mix of emerging and well-established writers, From Root to Seed inserts critical voices into the stream of nature poetry coming out of the Northeast. This brief, but poignant collection serves as reminder that Black, Brown, and Indigenous people have deep roots in this region and continue to thrive here. "