We are living in a time of unrest, fear and discord, Green said.
“Poetry has the potential to be one of the important elements that help us change our world," Green said. "Poetry has always had its place in cultures and societies, and especially when society is in an upheaval, as we are now."
She said poetry has the capability of connecting people’s humanity, fostering healing and showing different perspectives.
Race and womanhood
“My very identity has been very, very instructive, because that identity is so layered," Green said. "There’s what it means to be a woman. Then there is what it means to be a person of color. Understanding the currency of my skin, in terms of a historical perspective."
Green said she wants to use her success to help other women.
“I have stepped into a place of power, a place of purpose, a place of charity, a place of building community with other women— women of color and women period," Green said. "I think that there’s magic when women gather together. We hold each other up."
Green said she is a mentor to young women and hopes she will be able to perpetuate a new way of thinking. Women should support other women for the equity and opportunities that should be available to us as women, she said.
“All the conditions of my womanhood have definitely texturized my voice,” Green said.
Green’s poetic process
Green said she has been writing poetry for over 60 years, and started when she was young.
“Most of the time my poetry taps me on the shoulder," Green said. "My poetry is evoked from living."
Green said her process when writing is organic.
“Some of the content of my poetry is focused on the South cultural amnesia, the Black female body politic, since I am a woman of color who has grown up in the South, who continues to live in the South and who continues to live in a world that would like to erase my existence.”
Support for Green
“She is a really dynamic and engaging speaker, and we feel really lucky to be able to host her on campus, I think she’s really brilliant and talented,” said Katie Bunyea, project manager of University Library Communications. "I’m excited to have her here."
Robert Anthony Jr., curator of the North Carolina Collection, said he hopes the event will bring a wider recognition of Green's talent to UNC.
“She helps us understand and appreciate life and its many joys and complications, its challenges, its tragedies, through poetry, through her skill with the pen,” Anthony Jr. said.
Not only is Green respected for her poetry, but she also shares it with the community, which is another special aspect of who she is, Anthony Jr. said.
The reception will start at 5 p.m., and the reading will start at 5:45 p.m. in Wilson Library. The event is open to the public.
“Enriching Voices: African American Contributions to North Carolina Literature,” is on view in the North Carolina Collection Gallery at Wilson Library, October 10, 2019 – January 31, 2020.