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Charleen McClure (RJFWA ’20) debuts in film, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt

Charleen McClure (photo by Raven Jackson)

Poet Charleen McClure (RJFWA ’20) made her acting debut in All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt, one of the most recognized feature films of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Written and directed by her good friend Raven Jackson, film critic Caryn James praised the film by saying, “Poet-turned-filmmaker Raven Jackson uses elegantly composed vignettes, minimal dialogue and an immersive style to explore the life of a Black woman in the rural South in her eloquent feature, produced by Barry Jenkins. The story follows Mack (Charleen McClure) across several decades, the fragments of her life coming together in a risky, beautifully realized film.” The film will be distributed by A24 Films.

When we reached out to Charleen earlier this month with our congratulations, she offered, “The Rona Jaffe Foundation’s award encouraged me to dare to pursue my art full-time. As I was making that transition, the opportunity to act in Raven’s film was presented. Raven and I met at Cave Canem a decade ago. It was partly just about supporting a friend and fellow artist, but I discovered in the process that it’s another way of asking questions, another way of making a poem.”

Charleen completed her M.F.A in Creative Writing in Poetry from NYU in May 2022. She is working on her first collection of poems.



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