Poetic Statement: The poems are collectively entitled ‘Mythological Baggage’ for two reasons. First, these poems are diary entries with a mythic quality in both construction and storytelling, they are not true in their recounting of events, memories and dreams are never entirely true, but I hope that they arrive at truth or meaning-making, which is what all myths intend to communicate about existence. Second, I call them baggage because embedded in these poems are emotions and resentments I am releasing from the weight of my soul and shoulders. When released from consciousness, from thought to word form, they can no longer burden me. Finally, though I’ve spoken a lot about myself to this point, I believe these poems can encourage other folks to engage their own mythological baggage at a deeper level and they may also relate to the poems directly. It is only when we interrogate our underlying assumptions, traumas, and experiences, understand them and then move past them that we can live in a world of greater love and peace.
Bio: Aneesah Louise Ettress was born in the Spring of 1994 off of Lake Avenue in Pasadena California. The blessed-accident of her birth is that she is a black femme raised by two very strong and hardworking black parents. Greater than their work ethics, however, is their religious backgrounds and mythic family origins. Aneesah’s mother, Michele Broadnax (not related to the famed Henry Broadnax in the Color Purple) comes from a long line of preachers in the COGIC tradition, with family from both Atlanta, Georgia, and Shankleville East Texas. Her father Ralph Ettress, and his parents were a part of the Nation of Islam in East St. Louis and his grandfather was an avid apple tree grower and self-taught healer. The religious traditions, spiritual practices, and ancestral figures interwoven throughout her family history and childhood are the foundation of Mythological Baggage. In her poems, you will find her curiosity and love for the Hebrew Bible, dreamworks where she grapples with feminism, sexuality, and traumatic encounters with whiteness. This work is the personal-political. In the very nature of being a black femme, she is forced into the politics of being and therefore can not escape it.