Book review: Living as a Lesbian, by Cheryl Clarke

Clarke, Cheryl. Living as a Lesbian. A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2014. PB. 152p. $17.95. 978-1-938334-06-1. Simultaneously published as Sinister Wisdom 91, ISSN: 0196-1853.

Clarke Living as a LesbianThis is a reprint of a classic volume of lesbian poetry from 1986. Written by poet, scholar and activist, Cheryl Clarke it reflects the strength and breathes the truth of a black lesbian-feminist world that many readers have not experienced. Clarke addresses this gap in experience with a new “Notes” section that puts many of the poems in the context of their era and the politics surrounding the verses. A new preface by Alexis Pauline Gumbs and an introduction by Nancy K. Bereano further set the stage for this important and moving collection of poems.
Here is a taste, a section from “i come to the city”

The city fumes with expectations
and the smells of women
wanting women.
I been in love
six times in the last six months
and ain’t done tryin yet.

This slim volume should find a home in all poetry and lgbtq collections.

Morgan Gwenwald, SUNY New Paltz

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