Symposium Introduction

Mapping the (Thres)hold of Care: An Introduction

Christina Sharpe’s In the Wake: On Blackness and Being is at once autobiographical, hermeneutical, and testimonial. Published in 2016, a symposium on In the Wake may seem tragically late, and thus potentially superfluous, but any book that confronts the ways in which the world militates against the very existence of Black people is always already felicitous. Since its publication, it has been my intention to convene a space to celebrate and push In the Wake in order to create a critical tension in the ways we read and think about Sharpe’s sublime and, at times, uncanny meditations about this world. Moreover, as I see it, this symposium is a collective exercise in mapping the (thres)hold of black care. It is an entangled initiative of sorts, a symposium where the aim is not resolution or shared understanding, rather an effort to intensify the critical contours of black study beyond academicism.

In the Wake is the result of a thinking and writing practice that is simultaneously communal and singular. It is a text that explores the lived experience of blackness along with its enduring facticity and does so using a literary philosophical structure that moves from personal anecdotes and photos, news reports from a Philadelphia coroner’s office and shipwrecks in the Mediterranean to African film. The juxtapositions, reflections, and rolling repetitions that fragment the book’s constitution tells us something about the problem it addresses as well as the difficulties in finding a consistent way of writing about the Black world. It is a book that exhibits the vertigo1 that haunts Black writing, more specifically, and “Black cognition,” more generally.2 In the Wake is a form of literary fugitivity, a book on the run, created and organized in the torsion of the everyday, a book that attempts to explore a different form of Black disclosure in the midst of fetishistic devastation and disorder.

On the one hand, In the Wake explores the ruins of Black non-being and its symptomatic consequences. And, on the other hand, Sharpe is interested in the excess of black suffering, the opacity that Black social death does not see or is unable to grasp. While In the Wake holds in the balance the lingering presence of antiblackness as “total climate,” it places an emphasis on “reading and seeing something in excess of what is caught in the frame” (104 and 117). In order to do so, Sharpe suggests an aesthetic practice that incarnates the inner truth of Black humanity, known as “wake work.” It is a book that features elements of so-called Afro Pessimism, while foregrounding the “social” wealth created, accumulated, and spent in another market of being. As a result, wake work serves as a regulative ideal in that it embodies the promise of something beyond death. The result, I believe, is a text of “anguished eloquence,”3 a book caught in what is assumed to be a vexed binary—to live or die.

As a result, In the Wake is asking a fundamental and comprehensive question of ethics: how shall Black people live? Comprehensive in the sense of how to confront the world and how to endure in confronting it? As anyone schooled in philosophical questions understands, ethics starts with the individual. Any ethical argument is valid only insofar as it articulates an individual’s search for meaning, but for Black people it is a search for meaning in the midst of damnation.4 For Sharpe, this ethical question, or what Calvin Warren might call a “meditative strategy,”5 provides a respite, a psychic detour that allows Black people to return better equipped to partake in the Ellisonian “battle royale.”6 In this sense, Sharpe echoes Bobby Seale in that maybe “the best care package we can send to the other liberation struggles around the world is the work that we do at home.”7

And so, In the Wake taps a deep archive on care as study, as labor, as an aesthetic practice that serves as a resource for political work. It draws a picture of a kind of practice-based (anti) sociality that brings together the redacted and annotated (116). In other words, Black care is understood as a form of critique, an attentiveness to the internal, black interior, as it relates, but is beyond, what Sharpe calls “the weather” (102–34). And for this, readers are often touched by the book’s insistence on attending to the Du Boisian “spiritual strivings” of a community, to take care, and remain critically attentive to not falling victim to this world or to the reality of being a(s) problem.8

This readerly focus, however, may say more about the political moment, inside and outside the academy, than Sharpe’s own intentions. Therefore, is the collective enthusiasm surrounding In the Wake because it illustrates various forms of “ontological resistance” despite Fanon’s clinical observations? Or as Calvin Warren might suggest, does “applying the grammar of coherency (agency) to fractured beings,” reveal “more slavery fatigue than it does any substantial ability to eradicate antiblackness?”9 Thus, I wonder if In the Wake has been read too carelessly over the years: that is care considered in abstraction from the weather, for how one reads often depends on what one is reading for. What, for example, might it mean to underwrite Black care over and in place of Black self-defense? Fortunately, the twinned meaning of care, as both burdensome and conscientious, is illustrated in the following reviews.

In the end, this symposium is an attempt to expand and create generative dynamics among scholars interested in black liberation and freedom. It is a symposium which attempts, in some ways, to disrupt what I think is the safe scholarly attention that In the Wake has received since its publication five years ago. As exhibited in the reviews, In the Wake has the potential to activate a tension, a feud, that so often occurs during wakes; a tension, as I see it, that is stipulated by love for forging a new way of living and being in community. If my efforts in organizing this symposium generate a new appreciation for the challenge that is In the Wake, the symposium will have served its purpose. In the meantime, as Ziggy Marley poetically lims, “Still the storm comes . . .”10

  1. Frank B. Wilderson III, “The Vengeance of Vertigo: Aphasia and Abjection in the Political Trials of Black Insurgents,” InTensions 5 (2011) 1–41,

  2. Greg Tate, Flyboy 2: The Greg Tate Reader (Duke University Press, 2016).

  3. Ato Sekyi-Otu, Fanon’s Dialectic of Experience (Harvard University Press, 1996), 16.

  4. Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (Grove Press, 1963).

  5. Calvin Warren, “Black Care,” liquid blackness 3.6 (2016) 37.

  6. Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (Penguin, 2016).

  7. William Klein, “Eldridge Cleaver,” Black Panther, Biographical Documentary Film (1970).

  8. W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (Yale University Press, 2015).

  9. Calvin Warren, “Black Time: Slavery, Metaphysics, and the Logic of Wellness,” in The Psychic Hold of Slavery (Rutgers University Press, 2016), 63.

  10. Ziggy Marley, “Still the Storms,” Love Is My Religion (Tuff Gong Worldwide, 2006).

Sarah Haley


Ordinary Note

In the Wake’s Black Practice

When you’re down and out

When you’re on the street

When evening falls so hard

I will comfort you

I’ll take your part

Oh when darkness comes

And pain is all, is all around . . .


Still water run deep . . .1

I’m writing and listening to Aretha Franklin’s version of “Bridge over Troubled Water.” Aretha innovates, improvises, and annotates in her various recordings and performances of the song. It is part of a playlist that my former student, Amara, made as research for a project about Black intimate, cultural, and domestic life in the throes of the carceral state.2 The playlist, six hours and thirty minutes in length, sounds an “ordinary note of care,” which is to say urgent intellectual and aesthetic work.3 In the Wake propels Black study toward entanglements of research and thought and affinity; care, as In the Wake teaches us, animates Blackness and being. Everything beautiful, everything necessary, is formed and forged in relation; Christina Sharpe’s work on the wake and the weather and the hold and the ship propel her toward the contention that “thinking needs care” (5). In this way, it is a commentary on the value of Black intellectual reproductive labor to Black life in the midst of always-reappearing terror. Care emerges as integral to Black study and intimately connected to a refusal, namely the refusal to engage in methodological conceits that sever relation such as objectivity, abstraction, and liberal historicism. We are pushed instead toward Black creative intellectual practice.


All, all around.


Aretha is singing about the weather. Pain is the element tracked and measured as day changes into night and the word “so” documents a visceral vocal theory of the magnitude of the violence of evening. The thing about evening is it falls every day. If, as Christina Sharpe contends, antiblackness is pervasive as climate, as expansive and capacious and sedimented and ingrained as ecology, as all all around as Aretha declares, as eventual as evening falling, it is also as capricious, searing, and abrupt; it is the certainty and inundation and embeddedness and swiftness and shrillness, and sharpness of white supremacy that is so brilliantly bound in Sharpe’s theory of the weather.

Hi. Mikia Hutchings’s “sole offense was writing the word ‘Hi’ on the wall [of her school] while a young, Black girl child without financial resources” (123). For this, at age twelve, her image was splashed across the pages of the New York Times. She was not able to pay her fine and so she was made to perform contrition through hours of community service and an apology letter to another student in her school in Stockbridge, Georgia. Through In the Wake we are, as Sharpe argues via Dionne Brand, “sitting in the room with history” (12) with Mikia Hutchings and Black girls who, in the same place more than one hundred years earlier, were nineteen times more likely than white girls to be arrested. They too could not pay their fines, and so they were sentenced to hard time breaking rocks on streets or other forms of debilitating labor. These pasts that are not past reveals the “ditto ditto ditto in the archives of the present” (82). Is there a theory of historical continuity or historical repetition or historical duplication that takes Black girls’ forced penance for simply being at its center? Sharpe’s conceptualization of antiblackness as weather captures the relationship between time and place and the violent dissonances of changing sames—wake work urges readers toward a theory of Black historical environment and visual economies of Black transgression; Black redaction enters as historical counternarrative and a new way of seeing.

Sharpe brings Mikia Hutchings into sight through Black redaction. If white redaction is a disavowal of state violence through Blackness, Black redaction gathers words and ideas in Blackness to enhance a field of vision that both conveys and reaches beyond antiblack violence. Those rendered journalistically and archivally surplus, superfluous, and abject appear differently. In her Black redaction of the New York Times article about Hutchings, the following words are left visible:


I only wrote one word, and I had to do all that,”

“It isn’t fair.”


I’ll take your part.


Through Black redaction Christina Sharpe takes apart antiblack literary, vernacular, and epistemological order; in this case, she takes, in the tradition of Aretha, Mikia’s part, rendering her words and critique more visible precisely through the Blackness that surrounds it.

In this way, Sharpe refuses the all all around pain of the hold and the weather with a Black intellectual and aesthetic all all around practice of holding; Black redaction holds Mikia Hutchings by submerging violent and objectifying words in patterns of Blackness. This differently illuminates her critique and newly images the single word, “Hi.” In so doing, it raises a set of questions about interiority that are integral to Black life and being. Nobody bothered to ask Mikia Hutchings why she wrote the single word “Hi” to all who could see the wall. What was her art practice? Who was she writing to, and what did she hope to introduce by making the small word big? Was “Hi” meant to offset a general blues that had taken hold of the school? At least, nobody who bothered to ask was quoted in the papers.

When she wrote “Hi,” on the wall, Mikia Hutchings practiced Black annotation—insisting that commentary was necessary, something more than whatever it was that the school provided in the way of sociality and/or art and/or thought. Black annotation places the interior lives of Black girls in confrontation with the imaginaries that render them flesh in a book that insists that Black living is an ordinary note rather than a footnote.

Black redaction makes Black annotation practices, like Mikia’s, more visible, visible as more than a footnote in a liberal humanist story of injustice or redemption. The erasure of her interior life and the legal categorization of her annotation as crime, makes Mikia Hutchings coeval with girls past; the architecture and design of the room in which she sits with history is familiar. Ditto, ditto, ditto.

Black redaction and annotation are reading and seeing practices that refuse and renounce journalistic, scholarly, and juridical violation in order to create new modes of apprehending that challenge existing arrangements of power; in this way, Black redaction is related to critical fabulation, a writing practice that requires what Saidiya Hartman describes as the “double gesture” of “straining against the limits of the archive” and enacting the impossibility of historical representation.4 The status of the word(s) and the status of the historical event are deeply connected in the archive of Black disappearance and both are thrown into crisis by Sharpe and Hartman. Like Black redaction, critical fabulation sits in the room with history, mining the fragment in recognition that scraps and traces are both historical violations and historical leads, redefining what it means strain, not only against but for more than an outline. Redaction and fabulation enact the conundrum of “lives made visible through their own disappearance.”5 Distinct sight projects, they emerge in relation as afterlife methods, linking knowledge and being by expanding the practice of dwelling with history. Critical fabulation and Black redaction are practices of Black abolitionist gesture at the nexus of historiography, orthography, citation, punctuation, effacement, conspiracy, art, and politics, perhaps especially the politics of abolition.

The abolitionist performance qualities of Black redaction and Black annotation lie in their work to counter visceral and structural modes of abandonment by encouraging the inevitability of seeing in excess of terror. This leads to one of the most bleak and beautiful (for me, unraveling) lines in In the Wake:

“Somebody braided her hair before that earthquake hit” (120).

Black women’s reproductive labor is often imagined as resolving and rescuing, something to which everyone has access and which fails if it cannot save (or soothe). That the braid here clearly holds no such magical power reflects the character of Black feminist care and Black being. It does not sacrificially serve, but it does contest historical forgetting, it does reject the premise of annihilation. In this sense, it joins Black feminist reproductive labor with what Tina Campt elaborates as refusal—honed, nimble, often quiet creative responses that express and insist upon a future outside of racial dispossession.6 In the interface of Black feminist reproductive labor and Black feminist refusal, care in the context of what Campt calls everyday exigency and duress (before the earthquake hit), both exceeds and creatively responds to violation of extreme, varied, and unpredictable magnitudes. The braid has a lush and powerful temporality of attention: someone made the time, someone sat still long enough, the intimacy and depth of focus lingers in its look and feel in the aftermath of the earthquake; that temporality of attention, which is recalled in both the visual and the haptic character of the braid, is anathema to the terms of order of abandonment, grounded in structural geographic forgetting7 and obliteration. The pause for reflection on the braid is an ordinary note, one of the many placed delicately throughout the book, notes countering the antiblack violence of erasure and abstraction and elaborating the deep stillness of Black life in and through the wake.

  1. Aretha Franklin, “Bridge over Troubled Water,” Aretha Live at Fillmore West (Atlantic Records, 1971). This essay was written in 2018 shortly after Franklin’s passing.

  2. Amara Lawson-Chavanu, “Untitled No. 1” (April 2018).

  3. Christina Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016), 132. Hereafter, all citations from the text will be parenthetical.

  4. Saidiya Hartman, “Venus in Two Acts,” small axe 26 (June 2014) 11.

  5. Hartman, “Venus,” 12.

  6. Tina Campt, Listening to Images (Duke University Press, 2017), 32.

  7. Ruth Wilson Gilmore, “Forgotten Places,” in Engaging Contradictions: Theory, Politics, and Methods of Activist Scholarship, edited by Charles R. Hale (University of California Press, 2008), 31–61.

I. Augustus Durham


C. Sharpe Grammar; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Wake

for agnes and darryl


The last wake I was present for involved a friend who died suddenly at age 30. His final text: “I’m holding . . .” The wake I expected to attend prior to his was for the woman I called my grandmother; I was absent in protest . . .

Sitting with Christina Sharpe’s In the Wake: On Blackness and Being encourages transparency and elicits a response, especially if one regards its arrival as an invitation.1 This kind of beckoning usually compels worry because what is at stake in the imm(i/a)nence of that contemplation is the category called you, and the grammars utilized by you or others for naming. That said, if these memories, personal or corporate (as in transmitted among the body politic), are an emblem of and a regard for how one chooses to exist, then the devices of the grammatical shape how to understand this text and the wakes of our lives.

As a grammarian, Sharpe traverses multiple registers on the journey toward mindfulness. Under the aegis of the anagrammatical—“blackness’s signifying surplus: the ways that meaning slides, signification slips, when words . . . abut blackness” (80)—with all the wakes convened in the book, she obliges us to envision blackness askew, the ever-slight tilting of the head to visualize the crooked straight. This is an affect similar to when one hears a blue chord, or beholds a body at its final viewing. This latter occasion walks us down a theoretical aisle to acknowledge what lies before us through the channeling of mourners from a bygone era who questioned pre-wake: who’s got the body?2

Engaging in this undertaking marks the text with an epic quality whereby one could claim blackness and being akin to that of Antigone regarding her brother. In so doing, one declares to the powers that be: give me the body so that I may properly bury it through the ritualized act of a home-going, or -coming. If Sharpe syncs with the aforementioned sister, then all those who identify themselves as black, or black adjacent, potentiate to be Polynices. This funereal scaffolding structures a vessel called Care (131). Whether in the wake, the ship, the hold, or the weather, the once discarded and submerged resurface and engender us awake.

Likewise, the ship, and the shipped, reveals a language as unknown as it is familiar. The grammar, skinned, of flesh in transit has a final resting place upon a shelf, high and lifted up, comprising The Forgotten Space while accumulating dust (25–34). Repurposed for curatorial whimsy, this manifest of shelf life, with an indeterminate expiration date, is also known as archival discourse. Often, these epistemic machinations occur because some never consider the mantle, the uneasy yoke, people carry just to be considered “human” because the lighter burden is to conjure the architecture of the showcase as the “all” that “matters.”3 A 2017 Slate interview, an exhibition of these reductive constructions, compelled my own wake work.

Having explained the impetus behind his book, followed by the interviewer pressing him about his diagnosis as to “what has gone wrong with liberals since the 1960s in the United States,” the author contends that a “break” happened around 1980 with the rise of Reaganism, a response to New Deal-era politics up to that point in which “the sort of governing ideas were solidarity, equal protection under the law, public duty, and there was a sense of the country pulling together ever since the Depression and the Second World War to take care of each other.” The interviewer, further interrogating the logic that this forty-eight-year period was not about America being “united” but rather “the idea was to be united,” recalls the ’60s again, namely the Civil Rights Movement (alluded to but never explicitly named), and the fact that throughout the majority of said forty-eight-year period, “we had segregation in this country.” The retort: “I’m not talking about the reality on the ground. I’m talking about the way we thought about the reality on the ground. . . . The word we is the most important word in the Democratic lexicon. If you cannot appeal to that, you cannot rally people.”4 In my estimation, the most important word in this interview lexicon is thought. This is to say, the dialogue at hand concretizes precisely “what has gone wrong with liberals”: while some people were (too) busy in “thought,” likely in a nebulous “somewhere,” as others were getting their heads bashed in or dogs sicked on them or could not go to church in peace because the edifice was smoldering in pieces—all “on the ground”—the calculation that such juxtapositions are rendered equitable in the cause of “we the people” is more than troubling. And yet, despite these enactments of terror, we still “kept our heads” when all about us they were losing theirs and blaming it on us. But was that keeping to our detriment? In this way, I hear Sharpe quoting Abderrahmane Sissako in an endnote for “The Weather”: “all that is forbidden is allowed when someone goes crazy” (152). Maybe we should have lost it, too. Nonetheless, this rationale makes legible the conceit of the being of blackness, even in a “liberal” frame, as “the position of the unthought.”5

We have been cautioned about the danger in, and thus a healthy suspicion toward, the desire for commemorative gestures: their invocation provides the false sense that “the work” has been accomplished; it is a stop sign where living things become dead things.6 My mother reverberates in remix vis-à-vis the parable of the wineskins as metaphor: since putting old wine in a new wineskin brings about an oenological outburst, the construction of “new” institutions, without retrofitting a critical edge on the “old” ones before the ribbon-cutting ceremony, does nothing but clear freshly uncluttered corridors for the evils of yore to saunter about in bacchanalian stupor.7 The totality of this bedevilment, by way of blackness in In the Wake, constitutes the overarching mantra and continued repercussions of the afterlife of slavery.8 Thus, Sharpe equally ponders: how does one memorialize beings who have been categorically eradicated from memory—the operation of planning “solutions” via task forces and steering committees and multiday workshops, etc.—with relation to a conundrum that is timeworn and as yet unsolved? And can the blackness of those attempted to be remembered be love and be loved?9 The answer: WHO knows . . .

That sounding of “who” evokes a station’s call letters, and the mention of said location resonates with the poem “In Memory of Radio.” In this ongoing rumination on grammatology, I assert that Sharpe’s text inserts itself into a genealogy of poetics that excavates

. . . undersea folk.

. . . (after the transformation, [who]

was safe

& invisible & the unbelievers [who] couldn’t throw stones?) . . .

The book queries, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” One conjectures that the folk, repetitions of ditto in perpetuity (52), nominate Sharpe to answer, “The Shadow knows.” Is In the Wake WHO The Shadow is? If this premonition is correct, one comprehends the text as not simply an act of “love,” but an exorcise of evol.10

Sharpe not only translates at the level of the anagrammatical, but also at the site of the palindromic insofar as what is backward does not offer a drawback; it propels the literate eye forward, toying with sankofic deference. Could one, then, retrospectively construe the text as music, vocalizing that although “[t]he snow is snowing / The wind is blowing,” I-as-we “can weather the storm” because “what do I care how much it may storm” if we’ve “got my love”—of blackness and being?—“to keep [us] warm”?11 This modality of climate change would require the precision of protective gear and compassionate instruments—whether the annotative/redactive apparatus of “second sight” reimagined over a century on (113–30); or the aspiration an attuned ear cognizes prior to the simultaneous clarity of Louis’s growl and the grit of Ella’s bell on this recently cited record—because to care for something the atmosphere renders evil, which is to say killable and ungrievable, is nothing short of wake work, an opportunity for “seeing and imagining [a response] to the [weathered] terror visited on Black life and the ways we inhabit it, are inhabited by it, and refuse it” (116); it is a Ruttier. Nevertheless, the work of the wake is to rethink what has been theorized as evil and offer it the room to live above and below and within the veil. To be love as it is held and be loved as it holds.

An evil word it is,

This Love.12

Yet one also accounts for the wake, the hold, the ship, and the weather occupying the homonymic: the conjoining of the homographic and the homophonic. In the Wake, therefore, may stunningly depict a Grammar Book. This distinction further enlists a hermeneutic for defining what it means to be “sleep” and “woke.”

Transitively speaking, if blackness might be understood as always already queer, and sleep’s a queer thing, then blackness is sleep—as in every shut eye ain’t—and that which is slept on.13 The cultural cachet of woke-ness, though, stands to be problematized because lack of sleep insures the likelihood of preventable mishaps. Hence, wakefulness is a mediating posture, bridging sleepfulness to wokefulness. In the Wake is that interstice and incites the “woke” to echo the sounds they saw (132), no different than celebrating a bittersweet mourning on the pulse of its homophone.14 Or as Danez Smith intimates:

listen to my laugh

& if you pay attention

you’ll hear a wake.15

Yet all of this transparency might uncannily engender opacity, recognizing that who and what has been lost cannot be created anew or destroyed but rather, like matter, repurposed. That which eludes capture while maintaining captivation. So, whether you, like my departed friend, are, still, holding (on); or you, like me, protest while honoring the passed, perhaps the easiest thing to do is, simply, WAKE UP!

  1. Christina Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016). Hereafter, all citations from the text will be parenthetical.

  2. For an extended meditation on this colloquialism, see Karla FC Holloway, Passed On: African American Mourning Stories (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002), 15–56.

  3. In saying this, I ponder the controversy regarding the Whitney Biennial and Dana Schutz’s “Open Casket,” a funereal depiction of Emmitt Till. More specifically, I strike a convergence between Christina Sharpe and Jared Sexton. See Siddhartha Mitter, “‘What Does It Meant to Be Black and Look at This?’ A Scholar Reflects on the Dana Schutz Controversy,” Hyperallergic, March 24, 2017,; and Jared Sexton, “The Rage: Some Closing Comments on ‘Open Casket,’” contemptorary, May 21, 2017,

  4. Isaac Chotiner, “There’s Been a Slightly Hysterical Tone about Race,” Slate, August 25, 2017,

  5. Saidiya V. Hartman and Frank B. Wilderson III, “The Position of the Unthought,” Qui Parle, 13.2 (Spring/Summer 2003) 183–201; and Sharpe, “Black Studies: In the Wake,” Black Scholar 44.2 (Summer 2014) 59–60.

  6. “Hortense Spillers: The Idea of Black Culture,” 57:35–1:03:30, YouTube, November 24, 2013,

  7. Matt 9:17; Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37–39.

  8. Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother: A Journey along the Atlantic Slave Route (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008), 6. Sharpe refers to this formulation throughout the book.

  9. I hypothesize here a dialogue between Bob Marley and the Wailers’s “Could You Be Loved” (Uprising [Kingston, Jamaica: Tuff Gong/Island, 1980]), and Fred Moten’s inquiry—“Can Blackness Be Loved?”—in the documentary Dreams Are Colder Than Death (dir. Arthur Jafa, Glas Negus Supreme/Pumpernickel Films, 2013).

  10. Amiri Baraka, “In Memory of Radio,” in The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader, ed. William J. Harris (New York: Basic Books [2009, 1991]), 10–11. For more on ditto, see also M. NourbeSe Philip, Zong! (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2008).

  11. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” Ella and Louis Again (Los Angeles: Verve, 1957), emphasis mine.

  12. Baraka, 11.

  13. E. Patrick Johnson, “‘Quare’ Studies, or (Almost) Everything I Know about Queer Studies I Learned from My Grandmother,” Text and Performance Quarterly 21.1 (2001) 1–25; Richard Wright, Lawd Today! (New York: Walker, 1963), 137; and Michael S. Harper and Anthony Walton, eds., Every Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep: An Anthology of Poetry by African Americans since 1945 (Little, Brown, 1994).

  14. Here, I am contemplating Maya Angelou, On the Pulse of Morning (New York: Random House, 1993).

  15. Danez Smith, “not an elegy,” Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems (Minneapolis: Graywolf, 2017), 70.

Jaye Austin Williams


June 28, 2022, 1:00 am

Tryon Woods


July 5, 2022, 1:00 am