cover image Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought

Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought

Edited by Briona Simone Jones. New Press, $22.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-62097-576-3

Jones traces “the long history of love between Black women” in this wide-ranging, celebratory anthology. Documenting “the purview of the poet, blues woman, essayist, and critic,” Jones collects cultural criticism, theory, personal essay, and poetry from 1909 to 2019. The pieces are organized into five sections: “Uses of the Erotic” advances Audre Lorde’s writing (in her essay of the same name) on the “suppression of the erotic”; “Interlocking Oppressions and Identity Politics” sees “Black lesbians articulate the complexity of embodying a multiplicitous self,” as Jones writes in the introduction; “Coming Out and Stepping Into” focuses on personal tales of coming out; “The Sacred” is centered on spirituality and ritual; and “Radical Futurities” looks forward. Each features seminal writings from authors including Lorde, Barbara Smith, and Alice Walker, as well as up-and-coming writers, among them cultural critic Bettina Love, who expounds on the subversive power of the word ratchet to “examine the multiple intersections of Black and queer identity constructions within the space of hip hop,” and Arisa White, who writes an innovative “poetic drama for 4 voices.” Jones’s inspiring and prodigious anthology is striking. (Feb.)