Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
2009 Baron Fellow
Norman, OK


Research at AAS


Age of Phillis book cover. Illustration of Phillis Wheatley leaning in chair wearing a blue dress and white bonnet


Phillis Wheatley Peters and African Lineage and Kinship in The Age of Phillis

In this talk and poetry reading, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers discusses her newest book of poetry, The Age of Phillis, which uses creative strategies based upon fifteen years of archival research to shift emphasis away from the usual historical narratives on Phillis Wheatley Peters. Scholars of Wheatley Peters have usually focused on her life following her enslavement as a small child, beginning her biography with her 1761 arrival in Boston Harbor. However, with rare exceptions, there have been scant examinations of—or even speculations about—the pre-slavery life of the African child renamed Phillis, especially concerning her birth parents. In this book, Jeffers eschews this approach, moving toward emotional considerations of African lineage(s) and kinship.

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