Xavier Educator and Poet Ashanti Anderson Speaks Volumes on the History and Current State of Black Americans in Book Black Under

Ashanti Anderson is a Black Queer Disabled poet, screenwriter, and playwright who holds an MFA in Creative Writing and teaches at Xavier University of Louisiana. Anderson’s work focuses on resistance and autonomy and she challenges dehumanizing narratives while still holding oppressive institutions accountable.

Anderson has published her debut collection of poems through Black Lawrence Press as the winner of the Spring 2020 Black River Chapbook Competition. According to Anderson’s website, Black Under layers outward perception with internal truth to offer an almost-telescopic examination of the redundancies—and incongruences—of marginalization and hypervisibility. Anderson torques the contradictions of oppression, giving her speakers the breathing room to discover their own agency. In these pages, declarations are reclamations, and joy is not an aspiration but a birthright.

Anderson has been writing since childhood and received her minor in Creative Writing from Xavier University and received her MFA in Creative Writing from University of California, Riverside.

Black Under first began as Anderson’s Master’s thesis. The 14 poems in Black Under focus on the Black experience, both contemporary and historically.

“It started at around 60 pages, and it went from there,” she said. “I worked on it more and I included stronger poems in the piece. The work talks about when we were first brought here to the challenges we face today such as police brutality.”

In addition to being an author and writer, Anderson currently teaches English composition and reading and study skills at Xavier University. Through her teaching she hopes to prepare students to do well in their other classes and beyond. She wants to leave them with life skills so that they will make a difference in the world.

Anderson enjoys connecting with other writers and is open to talking about her work. She can be contacted through her website at www.ashanticreates.com

“I’m always happy to connect with fellow writers and poetry lovers,” she said.

Black Under is available on Amazon, on the Black Lawrence press website, and at the Xavier University book store.

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