Westmoreland born poet Yashika Graham, fresh from participating in the World Festival of Poetry in Venezuela, is poised to release a video for the title poem of her forthcoming first collection, Directions From The Border.
The poem, which documents what she calls ‘a literal and spiritual journey,’ takes the reader through often impossible terrain, charting through memory, and vividly capturing rural life. All this is wrapped in a sequence that tugs at the heart, ultimately guiding and calling the reader to ‘come home.’
Though not your typical platform for poems, Graham finds giving visual representation to her work only natural and she intends to continue. “I grew up on stories, sitting at the feet of my elders and siblings, so that forms a key part of my desire to write, to record and retain our histories. Putting the poem to video for me is a way of extending the reach of the story and of tapping into a visual exploration of place, and making a connection in that way.”
The self proclaimed bush woman’s work finds deep rooting in the place of her youth, grounding in the simplicity of rural life and traditions. “I think there is a beauty in the simple things, and that there’s rich poetry that resides in what people might call simple talk and practices. These things are often overlooked but I find them enchanting and haunting as they are perhaps among the richest parts of who we are. It is that sense that I find myself consumed in and hoping to capture and my family is a big part of that inspiration.”
The video, which was shot on location in Westmoreland by local filmmaker Udemba McLean and edited by Bas Akram, is set for release online and on local television later in July, while the trailer is currently enjoying noteworthy online viewership ahead of its release.