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The Delicacy of Embracing Spirals

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Incendiary, lyrical poems of liberation from the phantasm of Black womanhood.

"To encounter the words of mimi tempestt on the page, or in performance, is to witness the rare transcendency of language where the line becomes an exacting blade."--Truong Tran, author of book of the other

Wedding fierce, jagged lines to an uncompromisingly lyrical flow honed over years of performance, mimi tempestt writes poems that are by turns cerebral, profane, revolutionary, comedic, erotic, and sentimental. the delicacy of embracing spirals is her second book, an investigation of the ways in which the personal narrative of Black womanhood can be expressed through a radically human lens. With a visual sensibility that eventually explodes across the page, the collection begins with microcosmic poems of personal struggle and spirals out to macrocosmic texts of social and political critique. The book culminates in a fantastic account of the impossible staging of a play where the lives of the characters and the audience are at stake.

A blend of theatre and melodrama, narrative and lyricism, the delicacy of embracing spirals ranges from a confrontation with abusive lovers and predatory promoters, to an excoriation of police brutality and gender oppression, to a critique of the commodification of Black artists for white consumption. mimi tempestt expresses an ongoing dialectical consciousness about being Black, being woman, being queer, being radical, and most essentially, being complicatedly human. The poems engage with the "performance" of oppression that can deter the possibilities of selfhood, liberation, and autonomy, asking three central questions: "What haunts you? What hunts you? Who and what are you hunting?"


ISBN-13: 9780872869257

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: City Lights Books

Publication Date: 10-03-2023

Pages: 150

mimi tempestt (she/they) is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and daughter of California. She has a M.A. in Literature from Mills College, and is currently a doctoral candidate in the Creative/Critical Ph.D. in Literature at UC Santa Cruz. Her first book, the monumental misrememberings, was published with Co-Conspirator Press//The Feminist Center for Creative Work in 2020. In 2021, she was selected for participation in the Lambda Literary Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices & Writers, and was a Creative Fellow at The Ruby in San Francisco. Her works can be found in Foglifter, Interim Poetics, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. A native of Los Angeles, she currently resides in Berkeley, CA.