When I began Plantains and Our Becoming by poet and performer Melania Luisa Marte, I felt like I was on a journey through generations of Black women from all walks of life.
Luisa opens by letting readers know that this won’t be your regular degular poetry book, out the gate she tells us that Afro-Latina is not even a word that’s recognized in the dictionary. She let us know the dictionary isn’t the most trusted source, especially when defining words and placing them onto the backs of Black people.
As I continued to read I realized her poems were reflecting the times that we are currently in (S/O to Nina Simone) while also taking a moment to look back using the members of her family and her own personal stories as time machines.
Her poems have the rhythm of the Dominican Republic and the spirit of a girl from New York City. Marte takes us through the history of racism that crossed borders while also showcasing the beauty and soul of Black people. She honors Toni Morrison, cries for Megan Thee Stallion, and gives Tina Knowles her flowers.
I got the chance to talk to Marte about her new poetry book and ask her all about the road to creating Plantains and Our Becoming. Listen to the full interview below…