Amber Flame: dandElion
Amber Flame is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, activist and educator, whose work has garnered residencies with Hedgebrook, The Watering Hole, Vermont Studio Center, and YEFE NOF. A former church kid from the Southwest, Flame’s work has been published in diverse arenas, including Def Jam Poetry, Nailed Magazine, Winter Tangerine, The Dialogist, Split This Rock, Black Heart Magazine, Sundress Publications, FreezeRay, Redivider Journal and more. In her writing, Flame explores spirituality and sexuality, cross-woven with themes of grief and loss, motherhood and magic, and the interstitial joy in it all. A 2016 and 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee, and Jack Straw Writer Program alum, Amber Flame's first full-length poetry collection, Ordinary Cruelty, was published in 2017 through Write Bloody Press. Flame was a recipient of the CityArtist grant from Seattle's Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs to write, produce and perform her one-person play, Hands Above the Covers, a series of character monologues drawn from diverse real-life interviews. In early 2018, Flame co-curated the art installation Black Imagination at Core Gallery in Seattle. She had her first solo exhibit in 2019 with a project entitled ::intrigue:: 8, a multimedia installation that featured musical compositions inspired by the text of 8 different poets with original video content as well as text from the original poems, through Jack Straw Production's Artist Support and New Media Gallery fellowships. Hugo House's 2017-2019 Writer-in-Residence for Poetry, Flame’s second book of poetry, titled apocrifa, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. She is Program Director for Hedgebrook, a residency for women-identified writers, and continues to serve as an activist and educator while working on a third poetry collection, remounting her full-length play, developing a few nonfiction anthologies, and raising her child. Amber Flame is a queer Black dandy mama who falls hard for a jumpsuit and some fresh kicks.
dandElion is a multimedia collection of work that explores the queering of dandyism as a source of resistance, liberation, and joy. Historically ascribed to men who paid undue attention to their appearance and dress, the dandy has always been a somewhat queer figure. The women in the Sapeuse society of Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo adorn themselves in ornate men’s high fashion pieces in direct rebellion to colonial rule and their exclusion from the male dandy societies. Perhaps more importantly, they display their plumage because it brings themselves and their community joy. Isn’t that reason enough? Each piece in this collection is a meditation on what it means to be your own best wish.