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Leslie Bumstead interview, 2021-06-05

Identifier: dcpl_dcohc031_06.wav

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

D.C. Oral History Collaborative (DCOHC) is a citywide initiative to train community members in oral history skills, fund new and ongoing oral history projects, connect volunteers with oral history projects, and publicize existing oral history collections. DCOHC is a project of DC Public Library, HumanitiesDC, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. This collection contains oral history interviews, transcripts, and indexes produced by DCOHC grantees.


  • Creation: 2021-06-05


Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

Leslie Bumstead is a poet, writer, and educator. She received her MFA from George Mason University, where she co-founded of So to Speak, a Feminist Journal of Language and Art. Her collection of poems, Cipher/Civilian, was published by Edge Books in 2005. Poems, essays, and translations have appeared in literary magazines and anthologies. She has taught weekly creative writing classes in the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup. She teaches writing workshops and helps curate programming at Rhizome DC.


From the Collection: 1.13 Terabytes


Leslie Bumstead talks about moving around the world as a child, because of work of her father as a CIA agent. She reflects on finding confessional poetry as an outlet to deal with teenage angst and adolescent issues. She is later introduced to experimental poetry in D.C., building connections and re-imagining what poetry can look like. Leslie spends some time in El Salvador, recording oral histories of women guerilla fighters and doing other NGO work in the region. She meets her husband, a chief of Washington Post bureau, and they moved to Cote d'Ivoire. After returning to D.C., she continues to be invested in the feminist poetry scene as she researches ways that women can enhance their security. This research brings her to the current interest in trans-humanism and work on a manuscript titled Humoresque. As a founding member of Rhizome, Leslie provides insights about the community that sprouted from supporters of unschooling and other non-hierarchical organizational structures and came to be the home of the experimental arts in Washington, D.C. She reflects on dada poetry workshops, non-hierarchical pedagogical practices, and other non-traditional approaches to writing and poetry that she explores for her teaching practice at Rhizome DC and elsewhere. Lastly, Leslie talks about hopes for the future of the community of Rhizome DC, including the physical space considerations, community organization, and inclusivity concerns.

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
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