shah noor hussein: Poets Corner

Welcome to MoAD Poet’s Corner, a space where our network of poets speak to their place in the African Diaspora as it exists today. The poets featured in this series are connected to MoAD through our MoAD Lit programs, which includes Poets-in-Residence, Third Thursday Open Mic, and Authors in Conversation. Here is a space where you can nourish your soul, feel inspired, and relish in the words that narrate the African Diaspora. In the words of the late, Toni Morrison at her Nobel Prize address, “We die. That may be the meaning of life.  But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”

Photo by Sasha Kelley


the sheik

wears a modest white cap,
sits on a dusty couch,
takes our prayer requests,
sees our future
prescribes remedies
take donations


hawa // eve

she came from Nigeria,
to make life in Sudan
– an African eve –
they called her ‘the wind’


the hours / al wakid

twelve on the bus
and thirty six in the air
six more in holding
and three in transit
for nearly nine days with you
was well worth it
for me

Artist Statement:
By bringing together the fields of creative inquiry and art making – engaged pedagogy, black vernacular, creative inquiry and magic – I have created two multimedia and cross-disciplinary bodies of work in the last five years. Black GRRL Rising is a multimedia cultural archive consisting of installations, publications and academic research on the role of women of color and folk music in cultural and spiritual resilience. Black GRRRL Rising interweaves film photography, musical recordings, poetry, lyrics, dance, embodiment & film making into a poignant investigation on developing our sense of diasporic identity through a study of poetry and performance amongst young girls of Sudan. The work has already been published in two online platforms and exhibited in three galleries within the last 8 months.

This project continues the work of a four-year transdisciplinary academic research & art scholarship portfolio entitled Black GRRRL Healing, which began in 2015 as a self-published poetry zine and has since resulted in four art residencies, five publications, an anthology, two book chapters, numerous appearance on panels and at conferences, two short films, a radio interview, a podcast, a workshop series and a forthcoming full-length book.

Beginning in the Fall of 2019, the academic research portion of this project will be funded and support by the UC Santa Cruz Department of Anthropology. During this time, I intend to concurrently build on the artist and visual arts portions of this work through the production of more written pieces, the recording & editing of these pieces, and the layering of audio, film & photography to produce a dynamic installation experience.

shah noor hussein is a writer, educator and visual artist with an M.A. in Anthropology focusing on black feminism, art, and teaching. shah recently served as a Faculty Diversity Teaching Fellow for the Peralta Community College System. They currently work as an adjunct professor, a freelance writer and a multimedia artist in Oakland. shah will begin their doctoral program as an esteemed Cota Robles Fellow at UC Santa Cruz in the Fall of 2019. Their work aims to (re)center marginalized voices in dialogues on alternative epistemologies and cultural reproduction through a multimedia study of “Girls Music” in the home country, Sudan.

As a multimedia artist, shah noor’s primary mediums include the written word, visual image and orated audio. They completed a writing fellowship at the California Institute of Integral Studies (2016-2017) and have since served as editor of Umber Magazine (2017-  present) as well as a contributing editor for The House of Malico (2016 – present) and Nothing But The Truth Publishing (2018). Their work has been featured in Cafe Dissensus (forthcoming,  2019), Color Theory (2019), The Black Aesthetic (2018), CUNJUH (2017) and Veudux Child (2016). shah’s two self-published zines “Black GRRRL Healing (2015) & “Ain’t I a Womxn” (2014) paved the way for a four-year multi-disciplinary project in art and scholarship, resulting in a Masters portfolio and degree in Anthropology (2017). Their practice has now expanded to experimental filmmaking and led shah to be a featured artist in the Black Woman is God Exhibits (2016 – 2018), CIIS Womxn & Spirituality Conference (2019) and Ashara Ekundayo Gallery (2019).

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Categories:  MoAD Lit