The Poetry Vlog(TPV) is a YouTube teaching channel and podcast dedicated to building social justice coalitions through arts, higher education, and pop culture dialogue.Two primary questions undergird TPV: What do poets teach us about how to engage in Public Scholarship through Digital Humanities network tools? How do we support historically under-represented poets’ increased circulation online while foregrounding concerns about historical erasure and market logics behind representation in pop culture? At its core, TPV is an education project and platform that responds to these questions by centering marginalized voices and making higher education and arts discussions open access and accessible.
Seasons 1–3 aired 2019-2021. They include 75 video and podcast episodes with guests such as Pulitzer Prize-Winning poet Jericho Brown, 2019 National Youth Poet Laureate Kara Keeling, Indigenous and Native poetics scholar and poet Sarah Dowling, and open access education partner ModPo at the University of Pennsylvania. TPV’s third season received support from a Simpson Center for the Humanities’ Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship and The Jack Straw Cultural Center to bring together high-profile contributors and students in the development of content for the site. In Spring 2020, the series shifted to providing instructional videos for scholars and poets moving to remote learning and research. It also hosted a fundraising event for the Black Trans Network. Season 4 will be the final season and will include poets ranging from Tommy Pico to Tyrone Williams with airdates through Spring 2022.
A peer-reviewed Critical Edition of TPV is under contract as a mixed-media OA book with University of Michigan Press for 2023-2024 publication.
How have your engagements with public scholarship shaped your research?
I began writing my dissertation during the academic quarter when Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. My dissertation research on racial finance capital, environmentalism, and activist modes of scholarship was initially intended as an academic monograph for scholars. But the election made visible the need to reimagine my audience and the forms in which I was producing. As I worked on my dissertation, I became increasingly aware of the divide between scholars, artists, and their respective publics as well as the different forms through which academic and activist communities negotiate relationships to race, gender, sexuality, and the arts. While I discussed this divide in my research, I wanted to actively contribute to narrowing it as well. The need to engage in the same forms I was examining in my research became, for me, intellectually and pragmatically apparent—and imperative.
How might doctoral education be reimagined/changed?
My dissertation is a 300 page monograph; TPV is 75+ video and/or podcast episodes. Across both, my research asks how the Digital Humanities and Public Scholarship might impactfully intervene in antiracist pedagogies and coalitional scholarship and arts methods across disciplines. It was difficult to both practice the forms of scholarship advocated for in the Black Feminist and Queer genealogy I studied and meet the genre and form requirements of the scholarly monograph and the public-facing audio-visual archive. It was also challenging to find faculty who could mentor me in balancing the two, much less help me articulate them together in languages relevant to academic spaces. Significant changes in doctoral education that would have facilitated this work would have been: 1) institutional recognition of audio-visual materials as a valid portion of a text-based academic monograph, 2) examples of and mentorship on translating this work into academic job applications, and 3) funding to pursue projects like TPV.