New Book: Dorothea Smartt’s “Reader, I Married Him & Other Queer Goings-On” 


Dorothea Smartt’s Reader, I Married Him & Other Queer Goings-On was published this month by Peepal Tree Press.

Description (by Donna Aza Weir Soley, poet and professor at Florida International University): From the first poem to the last, Smartt’s new chapbook collection advocates a revolutionary decampment from the madhouse of desires “reigned in” to protect a precarious and often incoherent code of Caribbean respectability. This is Smartt at her sensual and lyrical best. These poems sing, and dance and love passionately ‘til morning cum. From the hazardous terrain of same-sex loving in Jamaica for some couples, to the manipulation of heterosexual marriage conventions in Barbados in the name of love, to the freedom of sexual abandon and the fulfilment of desire in Amsterdam, this small body of work is subversive, radical, and surprisingly panoramic. Smartt’s cartography renders new the old directive that we love each other, that we build and sustain community, that we protect and care for each other’s needs, desires and dreams. Ultimately, Reader, I Married Him & Other Queer Goings On is about Black diasporic love at its most radical and life-affirming.

From “The Poetry Archive”: Dorothea Smartt is a stunning performance artist and poet. She has taught in the United Kingdom, and Bahrain, South Africa, Barbados and the U.S, after beginning her writing life in the Black/feminist co-operatives of the Eighties, and publishing her first work in anthologies. She plunges into a complex and diverse world which embraces Banjul, Barbados and her London base, Brixton. Little wonder, then, that she has been dubbed the “Brit born Bajan International” by her iconic mentor, Kamau Braithwaite, who clearly recognised her strong inner voice, so evident to listener and reader, and validated her blossoming poetic identity. Smart turns out to be both the site-specific child of her South London upbringing, and a chorus member of the vocal Caribbean Diaspora, laying claim to more distant, shared identities, which speak in different voices and draw on historic memory and myth.

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