Award: Research & Development Grant

Discipline: Literary Arts

Project Collaborator(s):  

City/Town: Phoenix

Year: 2019

Artist Website:

For me, making poetry matter is a commitment to applying rigorous curiosity and experimentation to languages that are produced through other disciplines. I believe that the world as we know it, politically, interpersonally and physically, and changing (for better and for worse) and that the best chances we have at navigating those changes successfully is to develop language to speak across disciplines.

Excerpt from Saretta Morgan’s R&D Grant application

Saretta Morgan’s poetry practice centers multi-genre interrogations of designed space as they relate to narrative, visibility and feelings of belonging. She is in a long-term collaboration with artificial intelligence engineer Christine Allen-Blanchette to consider formal relationships between poetics, computer systems and language. As this work continues to evolve, Morgan is inviting additional voices into the conversation.

Morgan’s R&D Grant will enable her to hold a 5-day think tank for an intimate group of Black women with radical practices to consider their work in relationship to contemporary borderlands issues with the input of local activists, cultural workers and historians, part of an ongoing series of programs merging exploration of the desert and borderland politics with black feminist experimentation. Collaborators include Black women across disciplines (AI engineering, justice studies, film studies). Rather than producing direct action or solutions, the goal is to map connections and generate alternative perspectives and vocabularies.

Saretta Morgan is the author of the chapbooks, Feeling Upon Arrival (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018) and room for a counter interior (Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs, 2017) as well as the full-length collection Plan Upon Arrival selected by Fred Moten for publication through Three Count Pour in 2020. Her most recent writing considers Black migration to the southwest, particularly as it relates to natural resource management, indigenous erasure and contemporary border policies. She has received fellowships and residencies from the Jerome Foundation, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts, the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, among others. Saretta is a poetry editor at Aster(ix) Journal as well as the African American Review. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona where she volunteers with the immigration detention center visitation program, Mariposas Sin Fronteras and the humanitarian aid initiatives of No More Deaths Phoenix. She teaches creative writing at Arizona State University.