Assemblages by Cheryl Whitehead

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Contributor Notes


 “Assemblages” is a poem about the artist, Thornton Dial, Sr. (born 1928). Dial, a former steelworker from Alabama, uses found objects to assemble his works. These epic sculptures represent the struggle of a Black working-class man, and offer commentary on America’s most daunting social and political issues. His works address African American history, global conflict, the plight of the working class, and homelessness. Like African American spirituals, Dial’s astoundingly original works draw from the traditions of the Black South, and “sing” in code to viewing audiences. His assemblages challenge the very notion of the mainstream American Art “academy.”

Cheryl Whitehead’s poems have appeared in The Hopkins Review, Brilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz and Literature, Measure, Callaloo, Calyx, Crab Orchard Review and other journals. She has twice been a finalist for the New Letters Poetry Prize, and was recently a finalist for the Morton Marr Poetry Prize. She also been the recipient of an Emerging Writer’s grant from the Astraea Foundation. In 2011, she received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Sewanee School of Letters.