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African American lesbian writers and theorists have made extraordinary contributions to feminist theory, activism, and writing over the past 200 years. Mouths of Rain, the companion anthology to Beverly Guy-Sheftall's classic Words of Fire, traces the long history of intellectual thought produced by Black Lesbian writers, spanning the nineteenth century through the twenty- African American lesbian writers and theorists have made extraordinary contributions to feminist theory, activism, and writing over the past 200 years. Mouths of Rain, the companion anthology to Beverly Guy-Sheftall's classic Words of Fire, traces the long history of intellectual thought produced by Black Lesbian writers, spanning the nineteenth century through the twenty-first century. Using “Black Lesbian” as a capacious signifier, Mouths of Rain includes writing by Black women who have shared intimate and loving relationships with other women, as well as Black women who see bonding as mutual, Black women who have self-identified as lesbian, Black women who have written about Black Lesbians, and Black women who theorize about and see the word lesbian as a political descriptor that disrupts and critiques capitalism, heterosexism, and heteropatriarchy. Taking its title from a poem by Audre Lorde, Mouths of Rain, gathers writers including Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Barbara Jordan, and Audre Lorde to address pervasive issues such as misogynoir and anti-blackness while also attending to love, romance, “coming out,” and the erotic. Mouths of Rain brilliantly maps a genealogy of Black lesbian works from the pre-Harlem Renaissance to contemporary writers sparking new modes of thinking about the intellectual inheritance of Black lesbians.


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African American lesbian writers and theorists have made extraordinary contributions to feminist theory, activism, and writing over the past 200 years. Mouths of Rain, the companion anthology to Beverly Guy-Sheftall's classic Words of Fire, traces the long history of intellectual thought produced by Black Lesbian writers, spanning the nineteenth century through the twenty- African American lesbian writers and theorists have made extraordinary contributions to feminist theory, activism, and writing over the past 200 years. Mouths of Rain, the companion anthology to Beverly Guy-Sheftall's classic Words of Fire, traces the long history of intellectual thought produced by Black Lesbian writers, spanning the nineteenth century through the twenty-first century. Using “Black Lesbian” as a capacious signifier, Mouths of Rain includes writing by Black women who have shared intimate and loving relationships with other women, as well as Black women who see bonding as mutual, Black women who have self-identified as lesbian, Black women who have written about Black Lesbians, and Black women who theorize about and see the word lesbian as a political descriptor that disrupts and critiques capitalism, heterosexism, and heteropatriarchy. Taking its title from a poem by Audre Lorde, Mouths of Rain, gathers writers including Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Barbara Jordan, and Audre Lorde to address pervasive issues such as misogynoir and anti-blackness while also attending to love, romance, “coming out,” and the erotic. Mouths of Rain brilliantly maps a genealogy of Black lesbian works from the pre-Harlem Renaissance to contemporary writers sparking new modes of thinking about the intellectual inheritance of Black lesbians.

52 review for Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought

  1. 5 out of 5

    Althea

    From the very first page I knew I was going to adore this anthology, and yet it still managed to exceed my expectations! I'm not a huge nonfiction reader and in general it takes me quite some time to really get into anthologies, but Mouths of Rain was a whole different story and I loved my time reading it! Mouths of Rain features a plethora of fantastic Black lesbian writers, all with unique perspectives on various aspects of life and I loved the mix of nonfiction (reflective pieces and memoirs; From the very first page I knew I was going to adore this anthology, and yet it still managed to exceed my expectations! I'm not a huge nonfiction reader and in general it takes me quite some time to really get into anthologies, but Mouths of Rain was a whole different story and I loved my time reading it! Mouths of Rain features a plethora of fantastic Black lesbian writers, all with unique perspectives on various aspects of life and I loved the mix of nonfiction (reflective pieces and memoirs; essays; thought pieces), fiction (short stories) and poetry within. My only slight issue with the book was that a few of the essays had so much overly academic writing which made them less accessible and quite hard to read at times. This was exacerbated by the bad formatting in the eARC that I had, but of course I am not factoring the formatting into my review or rating and I have already preordered a physical copy so that I can transfer my highlights and annotations over and re-read it all over again! Highly recommend this anthology! Thanks to Netgalley and The New Press for an eARC copy in return for an honest review!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I enjoyed reading this collection of stories and poems. It gave a broader sense of what it like being a black lesbian in modern day times. Black Lesbians still see some of the discrimination that is depicted in Mouths of Rain but one can only hope it continues to improve. I also enjoyed learning more about each author. Just a very solid read. 4 stars This arc was provided by netgalley and the publisher for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Isaiah

    To see more reviews check out MI Book Reviews. I got an ARC of this book from the author. I was stoked for this book. I needed it as soon as I read the title. I always see white lesbian writing, so getting Black lesbian writing was a need in my life. The issue is, I just didn’t get this anthology. I know I am not the target audience, that is not the issue. My issue is it went from poetry to academic pieces to essays to short fiction to memoir. It was so all over the place that I was often lost to w To see more reviews check out MI Book Reviews. I got an ARC of this book from the author. I was stoked for this book. I needed it as soon as I read the title. I always see white lesbian writing, so getting Black lesbian writing was a need in my life. The issue is, I just didn’t get this anthology. I know I am not the target audience, that is not the issue. My issue is it went from poetry to academic pieces to essays to short fiction to memoir. It was so all over the place that I was often lost to what I was reading and how to engage with it. I feel like this would have been better as a series of anthologies, each focusing on a genre or two so it really could dig into the genre and hit just the right audience. The writing itself was pretty fantastic. There were essays I devoured. The memoirs always got me. It was often hard to tell what was memoir and what was short story though. There were some very clear short stories, but some could have been memoir. Not having this context was difficult. Kept me at arms length. I knew there would poetry excepts at the very least based on the title and the name of some of the contributors. I figured I could skip those and be fine, or attempt them if they were short enough. The issue is there was so much poetry. SO MUCH. I felt like I ended up skipping half the book just so I could even pretend I understood what was happening. So my main issue is the editing and compiling of materials. This is a clear example of why I don’t like anthologies. They are so scattered and make it hard to engage. The writing itself and the authors were great when I could engage. It just felt like this was not the best way to show case things.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    4 stars!!! (coming out Feb 23!!!) **ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review.** #MouthsofRain #NetGalley Pros: + an amazing gathering of lesbian, queer, feminist, and Black voices + intersectional non-fictional and fictional stories + so many new-to-me Black lesbian creators + read Audre Lorde for the first time (wow, I've been missing out!) + just a sheer deluge of IMPORTANT topics I hadn't previously been aware of but need to know (Universities refusing Black professors' health-based placement 4 stars!!! (coming out Feb 23!!!) **ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review.** #MouthsofRain #NetGalley Pros: + an amazing gathering of lesbian, queer, feminist, and Black voices + intersectional non-fictional and fictional stories + so many new-to-me Black lesbian creators + read Audre Lorde for the first time (wow, I've been missing out!) + just a sheer deluge of IMPORTANT topics I hadn't previously been aware of but need to know (Universities refusing Black professors' health-based placement requests, the historical context of Black lesbian/queer phrases, Black lesbian/queer women throughout history, how Black lesbians are left out of movements DESPITE BEING INTEGRAL the entire time, how Afrofuturism reframes Black experiences, etc.) + a variety of content (academic essays, poetry, memoir, short stories, opinion pieces) + the inclusion of Black lesbians from all over the world (not just from the US) Cons: - to be completely honest, quite a few of the more complicated academic essays were hard to get through (elaborate syntax made it feel sloggy) TW: homophobia, racism, misogyny, murder, assault

  5. 4 out of 5

    Molly Roach

    Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought edited by Briona Simone Jones This book was life affirming. It’s a compilation of essays, poems, prose, letters, and articles written by Black lesbians and queer folks. It spans decades - from Harlem Renaissance poet Angelina Weld Grimke to contemporary Black lesbian feminist scholar Alexis Pauline Gumbs. It encompasses pieces about the power of the erotic, spirituality, interlocking oppressions, coming and being out, and Black queer futures. Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought edited by Briona Simone Jones This book was life affirming. It’s a compilation of essays, poems, prose, letters, and articles written by Black lesbians and queer folks. It spans decades - from Harlem Renaissance poet Angelina Weld Grimke to contemporary Black lesbian feminist scholar Alexis Pauline Gumbs. It encompasses pieces about the power of the erotic, spirituality, interlocking oppressions, coming and being out, and Black queer futures. There wasn’t a piece in this anthology that I didn’t love. Incredible. I need you all to read this. 5/5⭐️

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jessi

    One of the best books I read all year, an absolute MUST read. I will be shoving it into the hands of every queer friend I have a very long time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    I receive an ARC from Netgalley I remember the first time I read Audre Lorde’s poem New Year ’s Day and the last stanza said ‘’ I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.’’ And this has always been my motto even before I knew she was a Lesbian so black lesbian feminist thought has been at the forefront of how I have lived my life. In the introduction it says “This collection is an offering. In it I aspire to trace the long history between black women because I have come to recognize that our love sto I receive an ARC from Netgalley I remember the first time I read Audre Lorde’s poem New Year ’s Day and the last stanza said ‘’ I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.’’ And this has always been my motto even before I knew she was a Lesbian so black lesbian feminist thought has been at the forefront of how I have lived my life. In the introduction it says “This collection is an offering. In it I aspire to trace the long history between black women because I have come to recognize that our love stories have been buried beneath our activism’”... and I can’t think of a better way to put it This is a stunning collection of Black lesbian feminist thought from various authors from all walks of life and different time periods. It gives an insight on how Black Lesbian feminists thought has been the backbone of various movements from the civil rights movements to the BLM, aside from that there is a softness to it in the reimagining of what love should be and especially for black women who are often undervalued in this society. There are essays, poems and short stories from both famous Black lesbian feminists and the less famous ones. This collection addressed identity politics, oppression, compulsory heterosexuality and most of all imagines a radical future, new and better ways to love from the point of view of Black lesbian thinkers. This anthology, I think, would be a good starting point for anyone who wants to find black feminist thought without the back breaking and time consuming research, I was very pleased with the biographies at the end which opens one up to find even more Black lesbian feminists Thank you so much for the arc Netgalley

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    Mouths of Rain is my first anthology I've received and read from NetGalley, and I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity. It took me awhile to get through because I like to read these collections one work at a time, but I enjoyed it so much and learned so much in the process. It's divided into five sections: Uses of the Erotic, Interlocking Oppressions and Identity, Coming Out and Stepping Into, The Sacred, and Radical Futurities. I will be buying my own copy of the book b Mouths of Rain is my first anthology I've received and read from NetGalley, and I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity. It took me awhile to get through because I like to read these collections one work at a time, but I enjoyed it so much and learned so much in the process. It's divided into five sections: Uses of the Erotic, Interlocking Oppressions and Identity, Coming Out and Stepping Into, The Sacred, and Radical Futurities. I will be buying my own copy of the book because I believe it's one book I could read again and again and learn something new every time. I cannot recommend this anthology enough, and I hope Briona Simone Jones gets the recognition she deserves for the work she put into this.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dhrishya

    4.5 stars As an anthology, I really did enjoy "Mouths of Rain" there was incredible diversity in thought, time period and works gathered to construct this anthology. I definitely think that this is something I would like to pick up as a hardcover and read all over again. Where this anthology may lose readers because of the structure, in terms of how this work is compiled, I do think it is an incredibly valuable read and something I would recommend to anyone who is looking to read more Queer, speci 4.5 stars As an anthology, I really did enjoy "Mouths of Rain" there was incredible diversity in thought, time period and works gathered to construct this anthology. I definitely think that this is something I would like to pick up as a hardcover and read all over again. Where this anthology may lose readers because of the structure, in terms of how this work is compiled, I do think it is an incredibly valuable read and something I would recommend to anyone who is looking to read more Queer, specifically Black queer, non-fiction and doesn't know where to start. Thank you to NetGalley and The New Press for allowing me to read this arc in exchange for an honest review..

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kel

    One learns best from one whose personal experience is recounted. The stories, poems and essays give glimpses into the lives of lesbians and the women who love them. Some are lauded, others are made to feel inadequate or abused by non-accepting parents. This is a great read. Gives insight into the thoughts and experiences of lesbians.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Zuleika

    Amazing anthology by Black lesbian women. Early pages reminded me of caribbean thunderstorms and the calm that comes with them. I felt myself reminiscing about growing up in a Caribbean island and a non-lgbtq friendly space. Def a must read for any ally and lgbtq person. So important to learn about our past and present.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Received ARC from NetGalley for review. The poetry in this collection was fantastic. I was also impressed with the different styles of writing and how they were combined within one work. That being said those twisting styles personally did not make reading it more enjoyable. The premise and purpose of this book was great, I just wasn’t grabbed as hard as I thought I would be.

  13. 4 out of 5

    sierra

    Truly beautiful and life changing but also sexy. I enjoyed every page and learned several new things with each chapter. I never wanted to put it down. Covering everything from erotic to identity politics truly shows how complex life is.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dysha Cole

    Thank you NetGalley for giving me a copy of this book. Poetry is touch and go for me but I was very interested in reading about the Black lesbian experience. Some of the poems in here were really powerful but overall I’m appreciative of the transparency.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Diane Secchiaroli

    This was an anthology just as the title says of several authors.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

  17. 4 out of 5

    Britt

  18. 4 out of 5

    abi

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ameenah

  20. 5 out of 5

    Thieving Magpie

  21. 4 out of 5

    OTIS

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ahliah

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ina Lee

  25. 4 out of 5

    J.P. Howard

  26. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nashat Nimer

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kate Bunting

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Hatrick

  30. 5 out of 5

    Erica

  31. 5 out of 5

    Hana

  32. 4 out of 5

    Maite

  33. 5 out of 5

    KC

  34. 5 out of 5

    Simone

  35. 5 out of 5

    Suzannah

  36. 5 out of 5

    Karena Bakas

  37. 5 out of 5

    enoughtohold

  38. 5 out of 5

    Ching-In

  39. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  40. 5 out of 5

    Strained Eye

  41. 4 out of 5

    Karena

  42. 4 out of 5

    Jess

  43. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  44. 4 out of 5

    Dolan

  45. 4 out of 5

    Shana Zucker

  46. 5 out of 5

    Myarc

  47. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

  48. 4 out of 5

    Laura Wallace

  49. 4 out of 5

    Mallory

  50. 4 out of 5

    Quin Rich

  51. 4 out of 5

    Kim Spitzfaden

  52. 5 out of 5

    jo ♡

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