by Pamela Sneed
I believe in the power of memoir which sidesteps all those quasi-anthropological examinations of all of us who know ourselves marginal, stubborn, deviant and creative. What Pamela Sneed has done is to turn her discerning eye on herself and share with us what has shaped her as a woman, a poet, and a performance artist. This is deep diving.
In the tradition of Baldwin’s Price of the Ticket, Pamela Sneed takes on the call to action to generously offer her own life experience of finding self and purpose with art, agency and celebration amidst and despite family dysfunction, abandonment, racism, sexism and belonging with joy, humanity, creative daring and a twinkle in the Big Apple to become an acclaimed writer in Downtown New York. This profound poetic journey of her keen and witty observations, revelatory experiences reveals a deeper truth of society and its discontents, that all combined weaves a tapestry with humor, grace and wisdom. Sweet Dreams is a profound memoir of courage, transformation and empowerment. This intimate embodied bold and tender tale calls to action for humanity to insist and create gestures of self-determination while taking a moment to pet the butterfly.
Performer, poet, activist, professor: Pamela Sneed has been a striking and indelible force on multiple art scenes for decades. Sweet Dreams invites us to know more about Pamela on her own terms, in her own words. It’s a compact but comprehensive account into life as she sees it: bodacious, revolutionary, worth fighting for. I imagine this book a lifeline for many on the margins. Speaking one’s truth can be a revolutionary act.
Pamela Sneed is a New York-based poet, writer and performer. She is author of Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom Than Slavery, KONG and Other Works and a chaplet, Gift by Belladonna*. She has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Time Out, Bomb, VIBE, and on the cover of New York Magazine. She has appeared in Art Forum, The Huffington Post and Hyperallergic. In 2017, Sneed was a Visiting Critic at Yale and Columbia University. She is a Visiting Professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts for 2017/18. She is online faculty at Chicago’s School of the Art Institute teaching Human Rights and Writing Art and has also been a Visiting Artist at SAIC in the MFA summer low-res program. Sneed has performed at the Whitney Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Poetry Project, NYU and Pratt Universities, Smack Mellon Gallery, The High Line, and was an artist-in-residence at Pratt University, Denniston Hill and Poet-Linc, Lincoln Center Education. She directed a final showcase at Lincoln Center Atrium. Her collage work appeared in Avram Finklestein’s FOUND at The Leslie Lohman Museum in 2017. Her work appears in Nikki Giovanni’s, “The 100 Best African American Poets.”