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Flashbacks & Flowers, Rufus Mufasa’s debut poetry collection, is but the tip of her practice’s iceberg. Hip-hop MC, writer in residence, educator, activist, speaker of three languages… Billie Ingram Sofokleous is thrilled by her understanding of her work and her identity as a mother.


Which poem in this collection are you most proud of?

I’m going to go with Weasel. That was a tough one to write and get right, but it still amazes me how a poem so small can say so much – show you exactly what something is, even if you can’t fix it in real life.

The opening poem, Every family has its scribe, was originally just that line. My editor Dawn kept asking me, what exactly is this? And I was like, “it’s just a line…” But when the manuscript was in the final proofing, I found a sketchbook dated January 2019 where the opening page was a very primitive vision board of what Flashbacks & Flowers would become. On the back of my drawings I’d written a diary entry of a dream I’d had, and I knew that was the opening of the book- it had been there the whole time, waiting, and fitted perfectly with the whole time travel theme I’ve got going on. Then the final poem in the collection ends in July 2019. So even though the story of the collection shows you my entire life, journeying through all that happens over six months.

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