I said I’d be back with a list of the things I’ve been consuming and enjoying within the last couple weeks, so here it is. I am unfortunately the kind of person that reads five books at a time, so there will be a lot here. Get ready.
Sing, Unburied, Sing - Jesmyn Ward
This is a great book regardless, but especially if you are someone that truly believes in spirits/hauntings/whatever you want to call them. Without spoiling the plot, it' is frightening and remarkable and touching. I felt that I was going to cry from the beginning and the ending left me gasping for air.
American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin - Terrance Hayes
If you’ve never heard the voice of Terrance Hayes or seen his towering body, get your life to the point where you can. I have seen him read multiple times and each time is a masterclass in how poetry is expressed in the body. This book is written with a tongue that dances; Hayes’ language is so fun and playful, but easily transitions into a lead foot that settles everything. In one of the sonnets, he writes:
“Even the most kindhearted white woman,
dragging herself through traffic with her nails
on the wheel & her head in a chamber of black
modern American music may begin, almost
carelessly, to breathe n-words”
Such a seamlessly and scathing portrait of white liberalism. Like wow.
Whereas - Layli Long Soldier (I haven’t gotten too far in this book so I’m reserving my thoughts)
Bestiary - Donika Kelly
if you’ve been on this page for any length of time you know I love Donika Kelly and spiders. Bestiary is animalistic in it’s grieving. The way it appears on the page like a wild cat or a doe emerging from a thicket of green, then retreating when you blink.
The Passage - Justin Cronin
I started this book and flew through the first half of it with an immediacy. Then suddenly, there is a turn in narrative and tonal shift that takes me completely out of everything I’ve just invested in. I currently feel too betrayed to continue reading but its not my book and I have to return it to the owner so I’m gonna muscle through it.
When My Brother Was an Aztec - Natalie Diaz
This is another book about a kind of grief, but also the love that supersedes and even weaves itself through that grief.
“Please hang your charcoal three-piece suit somewhere
else. Please stop
dragging wire hangers across her arms and stomach”
I’m a sucker for pleading, I love a good plea in a poem. There exist in every sister a piece of your siblings that you have tried to save from suffering and pain. This poem and this book gets at that feeling grandly.
Animal You’ll Surely Become - Brittany Hailer
Brittany is my friend, but I’m not biased. I’m not finished with this book but I can say it’s really brilliant. The way she blends memoir, fairy tale, and poetry is truly something I haven’t seen before. We all have our stories to tell but Brittany just tells her better than most.
Thanks to spotify premium I’ve discovered a new-ish artist called Joseph of Mercury who’s album I’m really digging. He kind of gives me more soulful Perfume Genius vibes.
Jamila Woods - Way Up
I try and start every day by listening to Free by Deneice Williams. Those fluttery vocals kissing my cheeks like butterfly wings really brings me into a place of gratitude for the day.
Nina Simone everyday
Kadhja Bonet has a song called Delphine that is so harrowing and haunting and I can’t stop imagining it as a part of a score for my horror movie.
I’ve long since wanted to be the lesbian Teddy Pendergrass and I’m only working my way to it everyday. “You’re My Latest, My Greatest Inspiration” is such a sweet song that dissolves into this incredibly powerful ballad toward the end. FURTHERMORE “Feel the Fire” with Stephanie MIlls? A sexual masterpiece. I put that on and can’t resist myself. WOO.
Lots of Gavin Turek, dreaming about her dazzling me with spins and her powerful fro.
Sad Girls Aquatic Club, a local dreamy pop band featuring ultimate babe Marie Mashyna.
This Brazilian punk band called La MIsma
Also, the most important thing, last night I went to a reading with Claudia Rankine and Carrie Mae Weems. Claudia Rankine said I looked like a painting, Carrie Mae Weems danced to Aretha Franklin and talked about the transcendent power of black art. I am full of love for black women, black lesbians, and the black poets that have come before me. So rich.
See y’all again in a couple weeks.