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Gale Jackson

Residency Sites: Plainfield, VT

I am the first of the first generation of North Americans on my mother's side of a large extended family. I love language, poetry and story, and understand, from my earliest home, the power of narrative, the centrality of culture, the magic of art, to shape our imagination of self and social possibility.

My life's work has been a deep engagement with the wonders of learning and community building, within a "griot" or bard tradition. As an artist and a scholar - a poet, a writer, a storyteller, a teacher, a cultural historian, a librarian, a researcher, an animator - my work has been, at heart, an interdisciplinary course of study in how we might name ourselves, dance, sing, sculpt, recreate ourselves, into a just world.

My "field" is feminist, "Africanist", humanist, and generalist. I've tutored neighborhood kids and assisted in coordinating international cultural education projects, written about the hermeneutics of "black" vernacular performance and struggled to find the form for teaching and learning in our most embattled social locations. I currently serve as a teaching artist, assistant professor and resident storyteller on the faculties of Eugene Lang College, and The Hayground School. I remain a student of language, poetics and ancient performance texts. I received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship for my work in African American history and the Griot tradition.

I've done undergraduate work at Sarah Lawrence College; graduate work in librarianship and women studies at St. John's University and The City University of New York respectively; doctoral work in African American history at The Graduate Center; and lots of learning and teaching in public libraries and schools. I've learned from my "students" that each place of pedagogy is a location for magic and metamorphosis. This keeps me going, writing, imgaging, searching.

My publications include the books Khoisan Tale and Bridge Suite: Narrative Poems Based on the Lives of African and African American Women in the Early History of These Black Nations. (Storm Imprints, 1998); the novella "Medea"; We Stand Our Ground: Three Women, Their Poetry, Their Politics, a collaborative book with Kimiko Hahn and Susan Sherman (Ikon Press, 1988); and co-editor of Art Against Apartheid: Works for Freedom.(Ikon Press, 1986).

Educational Background:

PhD in English, University of the West Indies, MALS in Liberal Studies, City University of New York, MLS in Library and Information Science, St. John's University; BA in Liberal Arts, Sarah Lawrence College.