Gary Phillips on intersections: Theme of this year’s festival

Gary Phillips on intersections


Gary Phillips, Carrboro Poet Laureate

Intersectionality is a strong literary term often used to describe overlapping and interconnected webs of discrimination based on gender, race, and class. There’s a whole vibrant body of work around this, including Kimberle Crenshaw’s analysis. See here for a famous Ted Talk by her:

Of course, Intersections as a metaphor gives us a lot of room in all directions, from our own intersectionalities of race and sex and class to Robert Johnson’s blues ballad At the Crossroad to significant turning points in our lives. Dig?

An intersection is literally where things meet, whether they cross, clash, impact or crash.

Facing the way/facing away/stray or stay/rebel or pray/get in the way, or getaway?

And that’s just the beginning of this drift here, the near riff here . . .

An intersection is also a set theory in mathematics, a navigational fix, a science fiction convention in Scotland, and much more. It’s a way to talk about the magical relationship between vastly different quanta or phenomena or experiences: the intersection of time and space, of East and West, of Eros and Thanos . . .

Another definition for intersection is a place of meeting (however fleeting).