Jonterri Gadson´s poems uncover moments in female consciousness whose existence we often don´t want to admit to ourselves: Does becoming a mother and spending a significant proportion of my life taking care of my children mean that I have to sacrifice my creative and intellectual life? Am I traitor to the heroines of nineteenth-century novels seeking emancipation insofar as it existed in their world? Why did my father never have time for me and what about those actually pretty disturbing stories I made up about him as a child on the playground to try to feel more “normal”. How can I expect other people to accept me as an African-American woman if I´m not sure I can accept myself? Won´t I just always be “their nig”?
Gadson comes to grips with these questions and much more in her chapbook, Pepper Girl (YesYes Books, 2012) and also seeks to debunk a few myths along the way. She reminds us that not all black people are urban and that being a mother is something that you have to learn, not just something that you become. Pepper Girl, Gadson´s debut, has been very well-received by readers since its release in September 2012 and it marks the culmination of the creative writing she has been doing since completing her BA in English at Florida International University in Miami, Florida and earning her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virgina.
She recently served as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, before being selected as the Herbert W. Martin Post-Graduate Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Dayton. She is currently lives in Dayton, Ohio with her pre-teen son who she affectionately refers to as the “Boy Wonder.”
You can find out more about Jonterri Gadson and her poetry here.