Poetry As Praxis + "illumination": Toward an Epistemically Just Health Promotion for Resistance, Healing, and (re)imagination

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Health Promotion Practice

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Health promotion is facing a most challenging future in the intersections of structural racism, COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), racialized police violence, and climate change. Now is a critical moment to ask how health promotion might become more responsive to and representative of people's daily realities. Also how it can become a more inclusive partner in, and collaborative conduit of, knowledge-one capable of both informing intellects and transforming hearts. It needs to feel the pulse of the "fierce urgency of now," and perhaps nothing can reveal this pulse more than the creative power of art-especially poetry. Drawing from critical and Black feminist theory, I use commentary in prose to conceptualize and call for an epistemically just health promotion guided by poetry as praxis-not just as method. I posit that, as praxis rooted in lived realities, poetry becomes experiential excavation and illumination; a practice of community, communion, and solidarity; a site and source of healing; and a space to create new narratives of health to forge new paths toward its promotion. I accordingly suggest a need to view and value poetry as a critical scholarship format to advance health promotion knowledge, discourse, and action toward a more humanized pursuit-and narrative-of health equity.


© 2021 Society for Public Health Education



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