“Tennessee Reed is a brand new star in the galaxy of our spirit—shining for all of our people.”—Simon Ortiz, author of Telling and Showing Her
“Reed writes with clarity, wit, and wonder—and with an open-hearted passion that disarms, refreshes, and delights.”—Al Young, author of Something About the Blues
“I’m not like them,” Tennessee Reed would tell her teachers to get them to see that the approach they used for students with “normal” brains didn’t always work for her. As it turned out, she was different in quite a few other ways as well, including the great reserves of courage she could call upon to fight an educational system that often defined her disabilities as laziness or stupidity.
The daughter of writer/choreographer Carla Blank and novelist Ishmael Reed, Tennessee was diagnosed at an early age with several language-based learning disorders. The bottom line, the experts agreed, was that she would never read or write. Within a few years, however, she published her first book of poetry. By the time she was a teenager, she was writing the text for Meredith Monk performances and traveling the world to read her poems.
Spell Albuquerque is an inspiring memoir of one woman’s struggle to overcome racism and institutional authority and to achieve what everyone said was impossible.
Tennessee Reed is the author of five books of poetry, including City Beautiful, Airborne, and Electric Chocolate. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, and has a master’s degree from Mills College.