cover of book

The Poetics of Difference: Queer Feminist Forms in the African Diaspora
by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan
University of Illinois Press, 2021
Paper: 978-0-252-08603-8 | Cloth: 978-0-252-04396-3 | eISBN: 978-0-252-05289-7
Library of Congress Classification PR9340.S85 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 820.9928708996

Winner of the Modern Language Association (MLA)’s William Sanders Scarborough Prize

From Audre Lorde, Ntozake Shange, and Bessie Head, to Zanele Muholi, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Missy Elliott, Black women writers and artists across the African Diaspora have developed nuanced and complex creative forms. Mecca Jamilah Sullivan ventures into the unexplored spaces of black women’s queer creative theorizing to learn its languages and read the textures of its forms. Moving beyond fixed notions, Sullivan points to a space of queer imagination where black women invent new languages, spaces, and genres to speak the many names of difference. Black women’s literary cultures have long theorized the complexities surrounding nation and class, the indeterminacy of gender and race, and the multiple meanings of sexuality. Yet their ideas and work remain obscure in the face of indifference from Western scholarship.

Innovative and timely, The Poetics of Difference illuminates understudied queer contours of black women’s writing.

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