Part lyrical narrative, part bluesy riff, part schoolyard chant and part holy incantation -- New York Times Lucy Negro, Redux, uses the lens of Shakespeare's Dark Lady sonnets to explore the way questions about and desire for the black female body have evolved over time, from Elizabethan England to the Jim Crow South to the present day. Equally interested in the sensual and the serious, the erotic and the academic, this collection experiments with form, dialect, persona, and voice. Ultimately a hybrid document, Lucy Negro Redux harnesses blues poetry, deconstructed sonnets, historical documents and lyric essays to tell the challenging, many-faceted story of the Dark Lady, her Shakespeare, and their real and imagined milieu. Inspired by the book, The Nashville Ballet will premiere "Lucy Negro Redux," an original ballet conceived and choreographed by Artistic Director & CEO, Paul Vasterling, in February 2019 at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. A collaboration of music, poetry and choreography, this contemporary ballet based on Caroline Randall Williams' book of poetry of the same name is unique in process, content and format. The project uses dance and music to execute the author's exploration of more than 160 of Shakespeare's sonnets, and her arrival to a thesis that the "Dark Lady" and the "Fair Youth"--the subjects and inspiration of these sonnets--were undoubtedly a black woman and a young man lover. Ultimately, in experiencing Lucy through themes of love, otherness and equality, the narrator, and thus the audience, finds a powerful female voice.
About the Author
Caroline Randall Williams is a multi-genre writer and and educator in Nashville Tennessee. She is co-author of the Phyllis Wheatley Award-winning young adult novel The Diary of B.B. Bright, and the NAACP Image Award-winning cookbook Soul Food Love. Named by Southern Living as "One of the 50 People changing the South," the Cave Canem fellow has been published in multiple journals, essay collections and news outlets, including The Iowa Review, The Massachusetts Review, CherryBombe and the New York Times. Her debut collection of poetry, Lucy Negro, Redux: The Bard, a Book, and a Ballet (Third Man Books, Spring 2019) is currently being turned into a ballet.