Saleem Hue Penny

USA Southern Black Belt

Saleem Hue Penny (him/friend) is a Black, disabled poet expanding the pastoral tradition of the Southern Black Belt using a “rural hip-hop blues” aesthetic. Punctuating his hybrid/mixed media work with drum loops, Jim Crow artifacts, and birch bark, he explores how young people of color traverse wild spaces and define freedom on their own terms.

A proud Cave Canem Fellow and member of O|Sessions Black Listening cohort, Saleem edits at Bellevue Literary Review, and was a 2021 Poetry Coalition Fellow. He has received residency support from Sundress Academy for the Arts and Vermont Studio Center. A worker-owner of Cooperation Racine in Englewood, Chicago, his work is rooted in Disability Justice.

He is compiling his first full-length poetry collection and pursuing archival research for ‘The Happy Land Liniment’ Project: an oral history, digital field guide, and chapbook-length lyric essay set in Reconstruction-era “Affrilachia.”

Formal Complaint

Artist Notes

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Licensing Agreements for FORMAL COMPLAINT

Original Music: Saleem Hue Penny recording as h.u.e [hope-uplifts-everything]
Railroad Street by h.u.e (2023)… CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Attribution/NonCommercial/NoDerivatives)

Creative Commons Licenses (7 audio files)
Radio Chatter Soundscape by Speedenza (2013)… CC BY-NC 3.0 (Attribution/Noncommercial)
Chicago PD 2 by cityrocker (2011)… CC0 1.0 (Public Domain)
Police_Birds by Benbojangles (2009)…CC BY-NC 3.0 (Attribution/Noncommercial)
Bucket Drummer by logancircle2 (2018)…CC0 1.0 (Universal)
Washington Potomac Waveplane by NoiseCollector (2009)… CC BY 3.0 (Attribution)
Washington Carousel by NoiseCollector (2009)… CC BY 3.0 (Attribution)
RBH DC Metro Indoor 01 by RHumphries (2005)…CC BY 4.0 (Attribution/International)

Adobe Stock Standard Licenses (8 video files)
African american daughter and her father dancing together in kitchen (Adobe Stock #410224106)
Vertical video of african american father and daughter using sign language (Adobe Stock #514269166)
Happy african american father and son using sign language, in slow motion (Adobe Stock #603934253)
Stressed african american man looking out of the window while sitting on the couch at home (Adobe Stock #439948210)
Thoughtful african american boy looking through window at home, slow motion (Adobe Stock #656909325)
African american father and daughter sleeping in sofa (Adobe Stock #356378255)
Sad african american father and son sitting on sofa and embracing, in slow motion (Adobe Stock #576482546)
Happy biracial girl sitting on sofa using sign language (Adobe Stock #577088164)

Wondershare Filmstock: Perpetual License (2 audio files)
Ambient Space Piano by Andrea Damiano (Filmstock License #125)
That Joyful Dream by Ahmed Elhdad (Filmstock License #213)

Wondershare Filmstock: License-free (4 audio files)
City Night
Departure
Rainy Day
Rainy Nights in Cities

Saleem Hue Penny

Saleem Hue Penny

Biography

 

Saleem Hue Penny (him/friend) is a Black, disabled poet expanding the pastoral tradition of the Southern Black Belt using a “rural hip-hop blues” aesthetic. Punctuating his hybrid/mixed media work with drum loops, Jim Crow artifacts, and birch bark, he explores how young people of color traverse wild spaces and define freedom on their own terms.

A proud Cave Canem Fellow and member of O|Sessions Black Listening cohort, Saleem edits at Bellevue Literary Review, and was a 2021 Poetry Coalition Fellow. Awards include the winner of the Bellevue Literary Review 2021 Marica and Jan Vilcek Prize for Poetry (selected by Jen Bervin) and runner-up for the Breakwater Review 2021 Peseroff Poetry Prize (selected by Chen Chen). Saleem has received residency support from Sundress Academy for the Arts and Vermont Studio Center. A worker-owner of Cooperation Racine in Englewood, Chicago, his work is rooted in Disability Justice.

His chapbook ‘The Attic, The Basement, The Barn’ (Tammy Journal, 2017) raised money for nonprofit organizations ConTextos Chicago Project and Chicago Books to Women in Prison. His 2020 album ‘You Just (Try to) Keep On: Songs of Solidarity + Self-Care’ raised funds for Market Box, a mutual aid food distribution collaborative. Bundled with crayons and snacks, his children’s zine ‘The People’s Grab-n-Go Coloring Book’ was distributed to children at emergency meal sites in multiple Chicago food desserts.

He is compiling his first full-length poetry collection and pursuing archival research for ‘The Happy Land Liniment’ Project: an oral history, digital field guide, and chapbook-length lyric essay set in Reconstruction-era “Affrilachia.” He is eternally grateful for his mother, Rosetta Olethea Harmon Penny (1957-2020), who taught him the power and potential of writing.

Press Kit: https://bit.ly/saleemhuepennypresskit

 

FORMAL COMPLAINT continues a line of inquiry/resistance from my 2021 audio piece “US Dept. of Justice Erasure for (law) Enforcement (officers),” commissioned for Zoeglossia’s Poem of the Week series, guest edited by fellow disabled poet Noa/h Fields. In the tradition of “occasional poetry,” ‘US Dept of Justice…’ was written to uplift Dre Hollingsworth and her 11-year-old twins, Aimee & Ashlee, following civil rights violation and abuse of power by the North Las Vegas Police on April 7, 2021. **[Note: Rather than risk reducing a Black mother and children to perpetual victimhood by further mining the incident, I will direct viewers to the “Poet’s Call to Action” released with ‘US Dept of Justice…’ as it contains educational resources and direct donation links for mutual aid support (CashApp: $BURGUNDRE + Venmo: @dre-hollingsworth).]**

Where the unapologetic and pithy redactions of 2021 emerged seamlessly, FORMAL COMPLAINT resisted linearity and any semblance of a narrative arc. Re/presenting the unwarranted police violation I experienced on July 9, 2023, by Gallaudet University Department of Public Safety is an ongoing process, and I was only able to enter FORMAL COMPLAINT with the support of close friends, chosen family, and the following folks: collaborators in mutual aid (Ecosystems of Care), colleagues in police oversight work (Invisible Institute), co-conspirators in trauma support/carceral healing (ConTextos), my therapist (with the audio cameo), ASL 101 instructor (Dion), O|Sessions mentor (avery r. young), 2023 Cave Canem Fellows (D. Colin, WJ, Dillon) plus the #DadPoets Group (DIA, Raymond, Gustavo), as well as my fellow disabled, chronically-ill poets and cultural workers trying to live CripTime, be gentle AF, and end the day with two spoons in our back pockets (Walela, Kay, L.Lamar, heidi, Noa/h, JJJJJerome).

This therapeutic and generative village reaffirmed Toni Morrison’s “You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down”; only then, did FORMAL COMPLAINT permit me to begin the work in earnest. First, I implemented a daily practice (i.e., producing 3-5 redactions/day of the ‘Rights & Responsibilities’ document for a week), and then I imposed constraints for each medium (e.g., narrow ink pallet for collage, field sounds geotagged for DC or Chicago, stock audio containing rain sounds). Quickly, video became the clear medium to reflect the scattered, tactile, disorienting analog/digital nature of the policing experience. Interestingly, once all the digital assets were imported, an unexpected linear progression actually emerged with the handmade erasures (ink/watercolor/ModgePodge) serving as 9 distinct touch points along the digital journey. Three months of conversations and reflection, one week of content generation, and one week of assembling loose parts; now I re/turn this to you, dear viewer. Thank you for considering my FORMAL COMPLAINT.

Black Listening's website front page header art and Obsidian 49.2 cover art were  created by Nettrice Gaskins

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