Album cover for Doublehanded Suite by Yolanda Wisher & The Afroeaters, released 2022. Photograph taken at the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia, PA, 2021. Photography: Kielinksi Photographers. Album Design: M Slater. Wardrobe/Styling: Kate Fry. Hair: Syreeta Scott, Duafe Holistic Hair Care. Makeup: Terrell Maurice Carr.

Yolanda Wisher


Artist Statement

I am a poet, musician, educator, and curator born and living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My work is in conversation and collaboration with my ancestors, my body, history, and the city. I write to unearth and revive hidden motherlands, to play along the continuum of poetry and song. I write and teach poetry for the people and create poetry as public art through performance, installation, and action.

While at Headlands

I am so hip my errors are correct.

– Nikki Giovanni

While at Headlands, I will be working on “Room for Error,” a series of poems composed on typewriters while listening to free jazz. Typing to the music, I do the opposite of what I was taught in eighth grade typing class: I don’t go back to correct “mistakes” or stop to bemoan the misstep of my fingers or the Freudian slips between my brain and digits. By the song’s end, I have a poetic mirror of my consciousness trying to make sound and sense. “Room for Error” embraces improvisation and whimsicality while interrupting notions of perfection. The series takes me back to what I love most about the composition of poetry: the free-write, the unexpected errors that become eloquent, the musicianship of putting fingers to keyboard, and finding a language for the heard but unspoken.

Work Samples

“We Longed for Parties,” text by Yolanda Wisher and photographs by Jessica Lehrman. Published in The New York Times, 2021.

“Longings” by Yolanda Wisher & The Afroeaters, from the album Doublehanded Suite, 2022. Poem written by Nellie Rathbone Bright (1898-1977). Spoken Word: Yolanda Wisher. Vocals/Keys: V. Shayne Frederick. Percussion: Sirlance Gamble. Trumpet: Paul Giess. Bass: Mark Palacio. Recorded by Tyler McClure, with assistance from Gianni Brown, at WRTI-FM. Mixed by Michael Cumming. Mastered by Tom Scheponik.