krbwBlack Was Not a Label is the forthcoming essay collection by writer and Occulum contributor Kathryn Ross. Published by PRONTO (@staypronto), Ross’ debut features “mediations in racial trauma, faith, and identity”, and is set to be released on October 18th, 2019. 


 

Description via target.com:

“From the moment where one’s race is realized to the first heart break because of something more than unrequited feelings, Black Was Not a Label explores what life is like within the “veil,” a concept coined by W.E.B. DuBois, and the “double consciousness,” for author Kathryn H. Ross. These concepts are felt from earliest childhood, but not realized or dealt with until early adulthood, when this collection of essays was born. Within them, Ross sifts through memories of everything from hair trauma and drama, instances of racism and forced stereotypes in school, family, and friendships, to slavery and heritage, her personal relationship with and faith in God with whom she struggles to reconcile the past, present, and the uncertain future of the brown body in what can often be a mean world.”

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after Dr. Eve Ewing

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The only valid criticism one could possibly levy against Noor Hindi’s microchap is it leaves the reader hungry—excitedly desperate—for more. Entering the book, we might assume the Filthy Woman speaker is a kind of feminist persona for that resisting “nastiness” that so many of us have tapped into in our current political moment. Like any good art though, Hindi’s poetry is at once contemporary and timeless. These eight poems explore what embodiment means as the crux of one’s self-awareness during such a pseudo-informed time.

 

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image via Porkbelly Press

 

Specifically, Hindi’s speaker rhapsodizes on those sacred feminist tropes of embodiment and sexual hunger with new vivacity. The voice is bold and unapologetic, aware of the “filthiness” that it will be labeled with for its rebellious nature. Questions of being tokenized as “the Muslim girl” plague the speaker’s meditations on her relationships. The tension between Islamaphobic violence at large and the speaker’s own private understanding of her heritage push the reader to enter this specific intersection of the speaker’s identity. (more…)