Afrekete: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Lesbian Writings

Overview

Afrekete gives collective voice to the tradition of black lesbian writing. In the vast and proliferating area of both African-American and lesbian and gay writing, the work of black lesbians is most often excluded or relegated to the margins. Afrekete meshes these seemingly disparate traditions and celebrates black lesbian experiences in all their variety and depth.
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Overview

Afrekete gives collective voice to the tradition of black lesbian writing. In the vast and proliferating area of both African-American and lesbian and gay writing, the work of black lesbians is most often excluded or relegated to the margins. Afrekete meshes these seemingly disparate traditions and celebrates black lesbian experiences in all their variety and depth.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The title of this collection of 20 essays, stories and poems is the name of a lover portrayed by Audre Lorde both in the excerpt from Zami that introduces the collection and in the poem that ends it. Both are, first and foremost, works of literature. As the editors say in their introduction, ``identity politics bind and frankly bore us,'' and here beauty, meaning and insight outweigh any given political stance. Even where there is politically charged jargon, such as in Jocelyn Maria Taylor's essay recalling her life as a stripper and her burgeoning political consciousness, it is compensated for by her smart take on the image of the black woman's body. By and large, the selections are encompassing: any African American will understand Alexis De Veaux's painful letter to her light-skinned ``Dear Aunt Nanadine''; any woman will cringe at the story of a back-alley abortion related by Helen Elaine Lee. And any human will be moved by Cynthia Bond's searing tale of abuse and madness. The essays are intelligent, for example Jewelle Gomez's look at her complicated relationships with black men; Linda Villarosa's studied response to blinkered Bible-thumpers who would throw stones; and Evelyn C. White's touching, nostalgic recollection of family life in Gary, Ind., in the '60s and her first realization that her mother was a woman, not just an accessory to child and man. Not every piece is of equal quality, but the majority deserve to be read. (May)
Whitney Scott
Coeditors McKinley and DeLaney select boldly and comprehensively for their gathering of African American lesbians' writings, including long-established writers such as Jacqueline Woodson, Pat Parker, and Jewell Gomez as well as up-and-comers like Sapphire and Michelle Cliff. The late Audre Lorde's riveting "Tar Beach," a memory piece about her eroticism and fulfillment with Kitty, whose other name gives the anthology its title, shows the two women celebrating woman-identified love of themselves and one another as well as the energies and passions of life during a fleeting summer of intensity. Jocelyn Maria Taylor writes of performing stripteases for men in order to raise the cash needed to start a club for lesbians and the conflicting feelings of empowerment and invisibility that stripping gave her. Sharee Nash weaves an intricate net of words when she speaks mesmerizingly of "bizarrely twisted incidents when I allowed myself to be led to some sultry sea of despair." This set of 20 works of fiction, nonfiction, and verse is hard to put down.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385473545
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/1/1995
  • Edition description: 1st Anchor Books ed
  • Pages: 336

Meet the Author

Catherine E. McKinley is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, where she and L. Joyce DeLaney began their creative collaborations. She is a writer whose work has appeared in Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia and various magazines and journals. including Essence, Emerge, and Ms. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. L. Joyce DeLaney is a screenwriter and independent videomaker. She lives in Los Angeles.
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Table of Contents

Editors' Acknowledgments
Introduction
Tar Beach 1
American Dreams 19
Testimony of a Naked Woman 29
Water Call 49
Tuesday, August Third 63
Dear Aunt Nanadine 79
Odds and Ends 89
What Has Yet to Be Sung 97
The Old Lady 101
Wink of an Eye 123
Kaleidoscope 139
Queen for 307 Days 165
Where Will You Be? 189
Screen Memory 195
Revelations 215
Ruby 229
Dare 255
Take Care 271
Ode to Aretha 295
Today Is Not the Day 305
Biographies 309
Acknowledgments 315
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