Nikky Finney is a renowned poet and educator originally from South Carolina who “involves herself in the day-to-day battles for truth and justice” while also guiding MFA students in her capacity as Chair in Creative Writing and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina, among other appointments at the university.

She was commissioned to respond to the images from the Southbound project with poetry, and was allowed to view each image in the collection without any names, titles, or other identifying information. The curators “felt there was value in allowing the poet to view the narrative potential contained within each image as an image, even if slippage between Finney’s poetic musings and the actual facts of a photographs making might result.”

In the end, she selected four, but as stated to the curators, she could have written a story about every one of these photographs had she had the time, and was, in her words, struck like lightning by most every frame.

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