“Emma Barr”

“Emma Barr” was crafted by Carey Voss from Emma Barr’s interview with Irene Robertson recorded in the Arkansas volume of the Work Projects Administration/Federal Writers’ Project Slave Narratives collection (gathered 1936-1938, collated 1941).

About the poem and process of creating it, Carey says:

“The WPA Slave Narratives collection contains more than ten thousand typed pages and represents more than two thousand interviews with former slaves.  Because of the nature of the interviews, I tried to limit the role of my own voice in their interpretation.  My interest in working with this text is not to transform it, but to uncover and draw attention to powerful storylines in each narrative.”

We published another one of Carey’s pieces—“Henry Banner”—earlier in the Found in the Public Domain series; you can read it here.