Finding Ceremony

Book Pages: 296 Illustrations: 30 illustrations Published: February 2020

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Poetry

The concluding volume in a poetic trilogy, Alexis Pauline Gumbs's Dub: Finding Ceremony takes inspiration from theorist Sylvia Wynter, dub poetry, and ocean life to offer a catalog of possible methods for remembering, healing, listening, and living otherwise. In these prose poems, Gumbs channels the voices of her ancestors, including whales, coral, and oceanic bacteria, to tell stories of diaspora, indigeneity, migration, blackness, genius, mothering, grief, and harm. Tracing the origins of colonialism, genocide, and slavery as they converge in Black feminist practice, Gumbs explores the potential for the poetic and narrative undoing of the knowledge that underpins the concept of Western humanity. Throughout, she reminds us that dominant modes of being human and the oppression those modes create can be challenged, and that it is possible to make ourselves and our planet anew.


“Grounded in oríkì-like references to Sylvia Wynter’s oeuvre, Dub simultaneously contracts and expands to create a new form of proprioception, which allows us as a species, phantomed by the corrosive and lacerating actions of history, to locate ourselves in relation to other species, as well as within the time-space continuum of the yet to be, the now and the ‘past.’ Part prayer, oration, exhortation, commentary and story, Dub amplifies ancestral voices to become mythopoesis in the making.” — M. NourbeSe Philip, author of Zong!

“Offering a sweeping, thoughtful, and exquisite meditation on Sylvia Wynter's work, Alexis Pauline Gumbs's poetic engagement represents a new and unique way of encountering and paying homage to Black feminist theory and Black feminist theorists. A beautiful and graceful text, Dub will inspire readers to return to and to rethink Wynter's work and her place within African Diaspora studies, Caribbean studies, and Black feminist studies.” — Lisa B. Thompson, author of Single Black Female

"Breath is an important theme in Dub. As is gratitude in the face of environmental decline. Because our ancestors navigated so intimately through change, Gumbs sets out to prove, so can we. . . . [An] exquisitely rendered love letter. . . ." — Ashia Ajani, Sierra

"People throw around terms like Genius and Magic frequently but if you open this book, flip to any passage, and don’t feel moved from your soul then I will assume that you don’t have one. 5 Stars aren't enough for this sacred text but it's all we got so . . . ."
  — Adrien Julious, Authentically Adrien blog

"I am so grateful that Alexis Pauline Gumbs listens to Black women writers and scholars the way that she does. . . . Dub is a book of our now. As tends to be the case with the books that Gumbs summons, the timing of Dub is prescient. With our breathless global attention set to registering the various way a virus connects all life forms, I cannot think of a better time for a book that tarries with and makes ceremony with Sylvia Wynter." — Tiffany Lethabo King, Antipode

"[G]round-breaking. . . . Gumbs’s trilogy embraces the lyric beauty in the acts of naming, remembering, and finding one’s way back to the source. . . . Reading Gumbs’s books feels like reading an archive that will someday, who knows maybe even someday soon, usher in an era of radical transformation." — Kathryn Nuernberger, West Branch


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Price: $24.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a poet, independent scholar, and activist. She is the author of Spill and M Archive, both also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
A Note  ix
Request  1
Commitment  3
Instructions  5
Opening  7
Whale Chorus  15
Remembering  21
Nunánuk  34
Boda  40
Anguilla  47
Another Set of Instructions  66
Red August  74
Relation  92
Prophet  94
And  110
Skin  114
Losing it All  120
It's Your Father  126
Edict  145
Edgegrove  153
Unlearning Herself  163
Birth Chorus  177
Conditions  194
Jamaica  199
Blood Chorus  202
Shop  214
Orchard  220
Cycle  227
Saving the Planet  231
Staying  239
Letting Go  246
Acknowledgments  253
Notes  261
Crate Dig  273
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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