35.1 | Rianna Turner

A Case for Dairy and Grocery List Poetry

In recent years, readers have revived interest in Anne Spencer, a New Negro Renaissance poet, activist, librarian and gardener from Lynchburg, Virginia. Most scholarly work on Spencer’s oeuvre has been done posthumously. In this paper, I read a grocery list, found in Spencer’s personal journals, for its poetics. I question my inclination to read her domestic jottings as artistic works, and discuss how scholars may consider the collages of text in Spencer’s journals, where poetry and mundanity converge. I reference thought in genre theory, food studies, and Black women’s rhetorical history to argue that domestic genres of writing should be studied for their aesthetic, as well as sociological, value.