Thiefing Sugar: Eroticism between Women in Caribbean Literature

Overview

In Thiefing Sugar, Omise'eke Natasha Tinsley explores the poetry and prose of Caribbean women writers, revealing in their imagery a rich tradition of erotic relations between women. She takes the book's title from Dionne Brand's novel In Another Place, Not Here, where eroticism between women is likened to the sweet and subversive act of cane cutters stealing sugar. The natural world is repeatedly reclaimed and reinterpreted to express love between women in the poetry and prose that Tinsley analyzes. She not only ...

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Thiefing Sugar: Eroticism between Women in Caribbean Literature

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Overview

In Thiefing Sugar, Omise'eke Natasha Tinsley explores the poetry and prose of Caribbean women writers, revealing in their imagery a rich tradition of erotic relations between women. She takes the book's title from Dionne Brand's novel In Another Place, Not Here, where eroticism between women is likened to the sweet and subversive act of cane cutters stealing sugar. The natural world is repeatedly reclaimed and reinterpreted to express love between women in the poetry and prose that Tinsley analyzes. She not only recuperates stories of Caribbean women loving women, stories that have been ignored or passed over by postcolonial and queer scholarship until now, she also shows how those erotic relations and their literary evocations form a poetics and politics of decolonization. Tinsley's interpretations of twentieth-century literature by Dutch-, English-, and French-speaking women from the Caribbean take into account colonialism, migration, labor history, violence, and revolutionary politics. Throughout Thiefing Sugar, Tinsley connects her readings to contemporary matters such as neoimperialism and international LGBT and human-rights discourses. She explains too how the texts that she examines intervene in black feminist, queer, and postcolonial studies, particularly when she highlights the cultural limitations of the metaphors that dominate queer theory in North America and Europe, including those of the closet and "coming out."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Luscious, abundant and rich—those are apt words for Thiefing Sugar, this captivating and lyrical exploration of what it meant in the twentieth century to be a Caribbean woman who loves women. Based on a well-chosen corpus of texts and lucid, in-depth analyses, the book is altogether a feast for the senses, a gift to us all!”—Gloria Wekker, Utrecht University, Netherlands

“Through writing that is as lyrical as the poetry and fiction she analyzes, Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley makes connections between sugar production in the Caribbean, the paradoxical ‘ungendering’ of black female slaves that makes their sexual self-hood possible, and the landscape of the ‘Global South’ to argue that the history of the black woman’s body in the African Diaspora is shrouded not just in metaphor but in the materiality of their own world-making.”—E. Patrick Johnson, author of Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Minnesota.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: The Spring of Her Look 1

1 "Rose is my mama, stanfaste is my papa": Hybrid Landscapes and Sexualities in Surinamese Women's Oral Poetry 29

2 Darkening the Lily: The Erotics of Self-Making in Eliot Bliss's Luminous Isle 68

3 Blue Countries, Dark Beauty: Opaque Desires in the Poetry of Ida Faubert 102

4 At the River of Washerwomen: Work, Water, and Sexual Fluidity in Mayotte Capécia's I Am a Martinican Woman 136

5 Transforming Sugar, Transitioning Revolution: Male Womanhood and Lesbian Eroticism in Michelle Cliff's No Telephone to Heaven 169

6 Breaking Hard against Things: Crossing between Sexual and Revolutionary Politics in Dionne Brand's No Language Is Neutral 201

Notes 233

Bibliography 257

Index 269

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