2010 MFA alumna Shonda Buchanan is an award-winning poet and educator, literary editor of Harriet Tubman Press, and a 17-year English professor with a forthcoming memoir, Black Indian, to be published by Wayne State University Press in September 2019. A tale of survival, the story traces Buchanan’s mixed African American, American Indian, and European roots.
Black Indian tells the generational story of Shonda Buchanan’s Michigan tribe— manically depressed yet comedic family of fierce mothers and daughters, dreamers and cornbread makers, crack addicts and witches, and how their lives collided, how they loved and failed, fought and prayed, challenged and triumphed despite the inheritance of addiction, sexual assault, and abuse. This visceral personal narrative equally captures the lives of their men — those who either ignored, protected, loved or maimed, as well as their sons and nephews who died too early or ended up in prison. Ultimately, Shonda attempts to reconcile her mixed-race heritage — the story of the blood — while exploring this difficult legacy in a racially charged country.
Author of Who’s Afraid of Black Indians? (Poetica Publishers, 2012) and Equipoise: Poems from Goddess Country (San Francisco Bay Press, 2017) and editor of two anthologies, Voices from Leimert Park (Tsehai Publishers, 2006) and Voices from Leimert Park Redux (Harriet Tubman Press, 2017), Shonda is working on a collection of poetry about the iconic Nina Simone.
Buchanan is a freelancer for the LA Weekly and in October she was interviewed for three radio shows on WPFW 89.3 FM, including E. Ethelbert Miller’s On the Margin. Shonda will also be discussing her life and work on The Stoop: Stories from Across the Black Diaspora, Nov. 15, as well as reading poetry on December 5 at the World Stage Performance Gallery in Leimert Park at 7:30pm. For more information please visit: shondabuchanan.com and @shondabuchanan.