Fri, Jul 16 | Epsilon Spires

A Celebration of Black Girlhood & Womanhood through Poetry, Films & Food!

Celebrate Black Girlhood & Womanhood through Poetry, Film, Food & Chocolate in our Outdoor Cinema! Featuring the films Hey Little Black Girl and The Fits, poetry read by poets from around New England, and soul food created by local culinary artists in response to the poems.
Registration is Closed
A Celebration of Black Girlhood & Womanhood through Poetry, Films & Food!

Time & Location

Jul 16, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Epsilon Spires, 190 Main St, Brattleboro, VT 05301, USA

About the Event

The Reading is from 7:45 - 8:30 p.m. Films begin screening around 8:45 p.m. 

Epsilon Spires presents a special multidisciplinary Backlot Cinema weekend-long event featuring poets from around the New England region - Amina 'illypsis' Jordan-Mendez, Lady Abstract, LN - alongside artist Shanta Lee.

As a part of this celebratory event for Shanta Lee’s book launch on Friday and Sunday, books and specialty non-alcoholic drinks will be sold by Antidote Books, custom chocolate inspired by Shanta Lee’s poems will be provided by Tavernier Chocolates, and Soul Food delights by Harmony's Kitchen! 

Read more about it in The Commons!

On Friday July 16, the featured poets Lady Abstract, and LN will read with Shanta Lee (who is sharing work from her new book, GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA) prior to the showing of the exquisite films: Hey Little Black Girl and The Fits. The range of art forms paired together share an exploration of themes such as self, time, and what it means to take space within Black girlhood and womanhood in America.

The Films:

Hey Little Black Girl 

Directed by Lyntoria Newton. Sound Recordist: Puck Lo. (13 mins) A film essay that explores black girlhood from yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Once upon a time there was a little black girl who propelled herself into a dimension of new surfaces with old echoes of the little black girls who came before her.”

The Fits 

Directed by Anna Rose Holmer (72 mins)

“Dreamy” -Rolling Stone      "Visually Lush” New York Times

THE FITS is a psychological portrait of 11-year-old Toni—a tomboy assimilating to the social dynamics of a tight-knit dance team in Cincinnati’s West End. Enamored by the power and confidence of this strong community of girls, Toni eagerly absorbs routines, masters drills, and even pierces her own ears to fit in. When a mysterious outbreak of fainting spells plagues the team, Toni’s desire for acceptance is tested.

The special weekend will end on Sunday, July 18 with an early evening poetry reading and a discussion featuring Amina 'illypsis' Jordan-Mendez, Lady Abstract, and Shanta Lee Gander.


Amina 'illypsis' Jordan-Mendez

Writing poetry since childhood and called to perform by community, family, and their ancestors, Amina Nia “illypsis” Jordan-Mendez lives for passion & healing. Born and raised in a predominantly white college town of western MA, Amina grew up a rebel: Black, fat, queer and existing. Inviting the challenge, she chose to live out loud—swim with her hair out, throw her weight around, question and confront. Now a focused poet performer, their hands are busy rooting themselves in intergenerational healing of their lineage, embracing the pain, hostility, pleasure and pride of blossoming into a poet she can look up to. Amina Nia “illypsis” Jordan-Mendez is tender, grateful, angry, loving and growing. They are currently attending workshops as they come and fitting art within their busy schedule of work and self-care, addressing mental health and traumas. Born to a first-generation Panamanian mother, and an “army brat” southern Black American father, she is exploring and defining ‘home’ in her body, in her life and in this world.   To read more about Amina, visit:

Lady Abstract

Alycia D. Jenkins is an emerging scholar, a freelance teaching/performing artist, poet, writer, and an environmentalist. Ms. Jenkins is a Trinity College graduate who currently resides in Hartford, CT where she has lived for the past eleven and a half years. She is a proud African American feminist who believes in the power of liberation of Black and American Descendants of slavery families. Ms. Jenkins advocates to change the world one city at a time.   To see Lady Abstract perform, visit:


Vermont has been LN's home for over 22 years. LN is the co-founder of Poetry People. LN has been featured at: Artsriot's Poetry Riot, Lamp Shop's Lit Club, Sundog Poetry Center's AMP Night and Delectable Delights, and Burlington's Pride Festival. In 2020, LN was featured at the Dianne Shullenberger Gallery's Delicious Words show. LN is a workshop leader for Sundog's Share Your Heart, a day of collaboration between students and professional poets, resulting in powerful and moving new poetry. She has helped organize Sundog's Justice and Poetry event. She is also a workshop presenter for Babatree International 's #WakeUpWalkTowards: a Telesummit for Transformational Change in the time of Covid, Climate Crisis, and Colonial Collapse.   To learn more about LN, visit:

Shanta Lee Gander

Shanta Lee'’s work has been featured in many publications. She is the 2020 recipient of the Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts and 2020 and named as Diode Editions full-length book contest winner for her debut poetry compilation, GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues (June 2021) which has received a strong review from the Poetry Foundation. Shanta Lee gives lectures on the life of Lucy Terry Prince as a member of the Vermont and New Hampshire Humanities Council Speakers Bureaus. She is the 2020 gubernatorial appointee to their board of directors.  Across all of her work, Shanta Lee has an endless hunger to ask questions, surface the unseen, create conversation, and journey into the unknown through her various creative endeavors or collaborations.  To see her photography and writing, visit

Reviews of GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak  Woman in Woke Tongues 

By Author Shanta Lee Gander

Through ecstatic and courageous acts of remembrance, the poems in GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues preserves and commemorates in golden, and at times, harsh light, the elemental growth of a poet nurtured by women, community, and culture but more by the rituals of language that “fashions[s] ourselves” into wholeness.

—Major Jackson, author of The Absurd Man

“Shanta Lee’s poems are adamant and stirring. They have incredible force and intimacy, the sound hit every part of me. ‘Some sounds invite eavesdropping to all / the befores. Before all the gates of / never return, before tongues couldn’t / be trained in what they no longer are’ she writes in the poem ‘Black Book of Creation,’ which mimics the experience of reading this book. This is an incredible book. A complex multiverse of language, nightmares, visions, history, the forgotten, the painful—but also that incredibleness of human resilience and togetherness. In this book there is conversation with both the reader, with history, with family, the very stars themselves. I feel the presence of the mother, the mother’s mothers, and on and on—all the way back to the first mother, the first stardust. And because of that, this is a book I will return to again and again.”

—Bianca Stone, author of Gertrude and The Mobius Strip Club of Grief

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