Looking for Miss Phillis
Finding the Woman Inside the Icon
Poet, essayist, and novelist Honorée Fanonne Jeffers discusses her journey to write a book of poetry on the life and times of Phillis Wheatley Peters, member of the 18th-century church congregation at the Old South Meeting House and the first African American woman to publish a book. In the process of that journey, Jeffers radically changed her ideas about what she’d previously assumed about this iconic, historical figure.
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is a Professor of English at University of Oklahoma. Her book The Age of Phillis, based on the life and times of Phillis Wheatley Peters, was long-listed for the 2020 National Book Award in Poetry.