Photography by Michelle Kilfeather
Poet, activist, and scholar Thea Matthews grew up in the Excelsior, which to this day is still a largely ungentrified, working-class neighborhood in San Francisco.
In Part 1, Thea talks about growing up as a Black/Mexican/Indigenous kid with a single mom in San Francisco in the 1990s. Most of her childhood experiences with her Blackness were negative, but they later formed a backdrop to her embracing that aspect of her life. Her views of the city, in all its complexity, inspire a lot of her poetry to this day.
Toward the middle of the podcast, Thea reads her poem "St. Francis."
She ends Part 1 talking about embracing her Blackness and drawing strength from it.
Please visit Thea's website to learn more.
Thea is a powerful poet.
In Part 2, Thea talks about the early days of her writing and performing poetry. She helped established the Black Student Union at City College and later went to UC Berkeley, commuting the whole time from her home in The City.
Later in Part 2, Thea reflects on the current uprising for racial and social justice. And she ends the podcast by reading four poems: "Gazonia," "Azalea Rhododendron," Fuchsia Fuchsia magellanica," and the prelude ("Praeludium") to her book of poems that comes out on June 20, Unearth [the Flowers], which you can buy at Green Apple Books, Bookshop, or your local bookstore.