Showcasing the Arts


June 2014 Featured Artist: Bianca Spriggs


Bianca Spriggs reading at the 
    multi-media performance of  The Thirteen.I have a friend who calls me the "What if?" poet. I'm constantly asking this question of every subject I embrace, so my work stems primarily from a place of speculation. I always want to know things like, "What if someone went outside and found a barely-alive mermaid by the dumpster?" or "What if that wasp I don't want to step on will be reincarnated as something else tomorrow?" or "What if Mami Wata showed up in the 21st century—what would she have to say about hundreds of black girls being kidnapped?" My poems do their best to resolve these types of questions.

It's important to know that my mother is a minister, so when I was growing up, I spent a lot of time in the pews absorbing the sermons and rituals beholden to the Black American church which in my case, includes activism as much as spirituality. Additionally, I was and am still a voracious reader of folklore, mythology, science-fiction and fantasy. Consequently, the narratives I am attracted to typically have something to do with transformation, the blurring of disparate identities and environments and are tinged with the phenomenal. But I am also interested in giving the voiceless a voice, be that the cadaver of a slave woman that's been sold across the Mason-Dixon line for "parts" in the 19th century, or an incarcerated woman in Kentucky whose only birthday wish is that her attorney will call her back, or speaking on behalf of an entire mountain range. Besides being a linguistic playground, poetry allows me to process events and issues and consider the real-time implications of abstract concepts, either literally through persona and personification, or meditating on spaces that challenge preconceived perceptions about the world around us from the cosmic to the cellular.

I also sincerely feel that hybridity is the future of the arts and necessary for an artist to stay sharp. I believe my literary work thrives because I have a background in music, theater, and the visual arts, so it is a policy of mine to never turn down an opportunity to think about what another genre or medium will bring to the table. This inclination has led to wonderful collaborations and opportunities to cross-pollinate audiences with other artists generating memorable and meaningful community conversations. Ultimately, for me, art is a conversation through which empathy and compassion are the keys to mastery.


"The Lexington Tattoo Project" - In 2012, Bianca Spriggs was commissioned by Transylvania University professors Kremena Todorova and Kurt Gohde to write a love poem to the city of Lexington. In 2013, 253 Lexingtonians had words or phrases from the poem, "The ____ of the Universe: A Love Story" tattooed somewhere on their bodies, a testament to the ultimate community engagement.

The Thirteen - "The Thirteen" is a collaborative multimedia performance and visual art exhibition revolving around thirteen Black women and girls who were lynched or otherwise executed throughout the late 19th-early 20th centuries in Kentucky.

"How Swallowtails Become Dragons" is a chapbook collection of poems published as part of the Winged Series from Accents Publishing in 2011.

Legend of the Baobab Girl
A poem by Bianca Spriggs

Bianca Spriggs
Lexington, Ky.



Page last updated: June 8, 2016
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