Twenty-five years ago, after her grandmother’s death, Robin Coste Lewis discovered a stunning collection of photographs - from tintypes to color Polaroids - under her bed. The poetry Lewis joins to these vivid daily images of 20th-century Black delight stands forth as an inspiring alternative to the usual way we frame the old stories of “race” and “migration," and investigates time from a fresh perspective. Lewis writes, “I am trying / to make the gods / happy,” she writes amidst her ancestors. “I am trying / to make the dead / clap and shout.”
Communing with the engaging photographic vernacular of her particular Louisiana Gulf / Southern California family, from birth announcements and graduations to glamorous outings, ball teams, and back-porch giggles, Lewis reverses all our expectations of both poetry and the history of photography. She puts white type on black pages; she makes a personal documentary public; instead of colonial nostalgia, she offers us an exalted Black privacy. What emerges is a dynamic reframing of what it means to be human, with Blackness at its center.
- Publisher: Knopf (December 6, 2022)
- Language: English
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- ISBN-10: 1524732583
- ISBN-13: 9781524732585
- Item Weight: 1.25 pounds