cover image The Black Period: On Personhood, Race, and Origin

The Black Period: On Personhood, Race, and Origin

Hafizah Augustus Geter. Random House, $28.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-593-44864-9

Nigerian American poet Geter (Un-American) deconstructs in these evocative reflections her personal narrative and examines its connection to her parents’ histories and the catastrophes that compound her own losses. Growing up in Akron, Ohio, as the daughter of a Nigerian Muslim mother and a Black Southern father, Geter felt like “the water between two land masses.” After her mother died of a stroke when Geter was 19 and shortly thereafter her father became a diabetic, Geter, who dealt with chronic pain and anxiety, was ashamed of her own self-perceived weaknesses. “There was something about illness that felt dangerous even beyond the fact of the illness itself,” she writes. She also considers how the physical and psychological violence of white supremacy causes complex trauma, which is an “invisible disability.” As an adult, Geter studied art to reimagine her life and identity as a queer Black woman, consulting works from great artists—including Francisco Goya’s Black Paintings­—and her father’s charcoal drawings to heal. The narrative doesn’t follow a neat timeline of events, but Geter’s expansive vision becomes much more than a self-portrait as it confronts how the human body keeps score—and survives. This poetic memoir delivers. Agent: Ayesha Pande, Ayesha Pande Literary. (Sept.)