Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues

Diode Editions June 2021 * Click Here to Order

Named as an honorable mention in 

the New England Poetry Club's Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize

Find out what others are saying about GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA!

Harriet Books, Poetry Foundation Review by Ryo Yamaguchi

Seven Days Review by Skye Jackson

Kenyon Review by Diana Whitney

The Adroit Journal

Events & Readings

Most events will be virtual or take place within safe distances adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.  If you want to book an event, click here.

The Poetics of Girlhood and Womanhood in America:
Through Body & Verse
 A Conversation with Christal Brown,
Shanta Lee Gander, and Diana Whitney

Vermont Humanities Council First Wednesday Event
Wednesday, April 6 * 224 Main St, Brattleboro, VT 05301

Featured Poet @ Black Writers Read (Virtual Event)
Sunday, April 10 @ 3 p.m. * More Details to Come!


What does it mean to move away from the shadow of one’s mother, parents, or family in order to come into being within this world? As collective memory within the Black diaspora has been ruptured, GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA time travels by creating and recapturing memory from a fractured past to survive in the present and envision a future. In her first full-length collection GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues, Shanta Lee Gander navigates between formal and vernacular styles to introduce the reader to a myriad of subjects such as scientific facts that link butterflies to female sexuality and vulnerability; whispers of classical Greek myth; H.P. Lovecraft’s fantastical creature, Cthulhu; and the traces of African mythmaking and telling. Beneath the intensity, longing, seeking, wondering, and the ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ voice that sometimes tussles with sadness, there is a movement of sass and a will that refuses to say that it has been broken. Gander leaves a door ajar in this ongoing conversation of the Black female body that walks the spaces of the individual within a collective; the tensions between inherited and hidden narratives; and the present within a history and future that is still being imagined.

Using Format