2015 Louisiana Studies Conference Presentation Abstract
“What To Bury, Where To Bury It: An Excavation in Prose and Poetry”
Presented by Nina Adel, Nashville State Community College and Tennessee State University
What To Bury, Where To Bury It is a hybrid creative nonfiction collection in prose, poetry, and essay. Working within themes of both the underneath and liminality, this presentation is an excerpt from the manuscript-in-progress. A reflection on the correlation between what we as a human community bury of and within our Selves and what we bury of our common history, this work makes an argument for fearless illumination.
The slave history of the southern United States, while well-elaborated in discussion, remains a place, rich in metaphor, of hidden and buried tangible manifestation of that past. This piece draws from fairly recent endeavors in Louisiana (The Whitney Plantation) and Tennessee (The Hermitage) to engage in a public “unburying” of the slave history that resides under the well-preserved Big House opulence. It addresses as well the question of the individual standing before the troubling realities of history and drawing from them a sense of being situated, for better or worse, within the broader human community.