Literary Citizenship Festival: Select Quotes from Ladan Osman

“The relationship between light and dark is a philosophical question about truth.”

osman Ladan Osman (’06) is the author of The Kitchen Dweller’s Testimony, winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. Her chapbook, Ordinary Heaven, was published by Slapering Hol Press in 2014. Osman has also been awarded several prestigious fellowships in the arts. Osman visited Otterbein and read her work on Saturday, January 31 in Riley Auditorium.

“I find it particularly important to invoke my ancestors–particularly those who are young and gone.”

“I think that each poem has an atmosphere that demands something. I think that a lot about ferns and their relationship with light and darkness. It’s something I take time to meditate on. I myself am very comfortable around plants and seawater. In a way, I am even meditating within the writing.”

“I think the most important truth to consider is inherently inhumane positioning of marginalized people. It’s important for me to assert my authority and to detail the vulnerabilities of occupying that position.”

“I think we have to accommodate the story that demands to be written.”

“The relationship between light and darkness is a philosophical question about truth.”

“In graduate school, I learned not to look at someone’s professional success, but to ask, ‘Are we making a connection?'”

“Be tactical, and be honest with yourself about what you want.”

“It’s okay for it to be lonely. As you get older, it’s harder and harder to find people who care about the work outside of markers of success.”


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