I am not certain that we are honoring and respecting June Jordan by presenting her seven part poem “From Sea to Shining Sea” as the second installment from the famous 1983 anthology, Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology, edited by Barbara Smith and published by Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press—a project instigated by none other than Audre Lorde. Sometimes a great poem from a person of color is not on the Internet because they were (often deliberately) overlooked. Other times the poet, the artist, wants levels of control over their work that are strict and aggressively conservative.

Posthumously, I can see that the June Jordan official website has a “permissions” page, clearly under the auspices of the June M. Jordan Literary Estate Trust. Of course this is ignorant and embarrassingly amateurish of me, but based on past treatment from organizations established to represent an artist (which are often politically different from the artist herself) my instincts are screaming to do the “offensive” thing and not contact the June M. Jordan Literary Estate Trust and present this incredible poem within the context of reviving/reinforcing interest in Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press.

“From Sea to Shining Sea” should be made into a film. Its length—its scope—has an epic documentarian view of Ronald Reagan’s 1980s—that time when I was just a teenager. It is an engaging blend of sweeping portraiture across the entire American landscape while temporally existing in a fraction of moment—inside a woman’s mouth (with pomegranate seeds). This poem appears strongly to me as one designed to be read decades later—like opening a time capsule—as it appears (apparently and perhaps temporarily) for the first time on the Internet.


Written by . . . . . . . June Jordan

Archival Research by . . . . . . . Bryan Wilhite