A Black poet performs a shamanic soul retrieval of the seven-hundred-year-old diasporic black arts tradition
Continuing her search for a neotropical mythos, in this brilliant second collection poet fahima ife articulates various scenes of subduction. Spoken in quiet recognition and grounded in desire, Septet for the Luminous Ones imagines a lush soundscape textured in oblique spiritual fusion of the Taíno and Yoruba. Or, what it sounded like coming together for the first time, and what it sounds like ever after—breathless, diaspora calling. Similar to the incidents in Maroon Choreography, what resounds in these poems is an ecstatic love song of the Caribbean Americas, of the main lands and islands, shaped and reshaped as breathwork, ritual, communion, and fantasy. In essence, the collection speaks to raise the vibrational frequencies of all species on Earth through a sensual pulse of Black English.
From Alchemical Sirens
it flickers in
moist in the palms of our hands
a psalm a lamp a sap in our laps
plausible love song after love poems
were last put on hold
as in b l a ck a r t
the new black art is this —
find the lost soul and love it
THE DRIFTS • entheogenic rush • intensive care unit • autosomal music • of spirit, artificial symbiont • alchemical sirens • acid west • we need to talk about the gulf coast • [ dismemberment of the social body ] • i see now (( ima have to let you go • magnitude and bond • aghori, century seven • cannabis sativa • a seam of electricity • voyage of a sable poetics • our general banality • recession • lucius • cosmogony 77 • afterlife of the party, the order of time • communicado, two sips • discipline, for mati • a flicker for you, let you enter as if entering me • i go back to april 1978 • preface to a twenty-volume spiritual ascent • grapevine swing • neoromanticism • the seven players, and our consorts • alchemical sirens • i am like a radio, channel of my own • black art is loud as a skunk at midnight • acknowledgments • notes and discography
fahima ife is associate professor of Black Aesthetics and Poetics in the department of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz. She is the author of Maroon Choreography.
"fahima ife's book might be the spark that ignited when Will Alexander's work met Nathaniel Mackey's. Or it grew from a secret overlap between Fred Moten and Alice Notley. In any case, it is on its way 'singing of our soul missive a glowing vortex.' Under pressure, it slips under, around, or through grim history to discover unauthorized pleasure."~Rae Armantrout, author of Finalists
"fahima ife's Septet for the Luminous Ones conjures space for the black queer body, where critical thought, creative practice, and the building of intimate communities blur in radical engagement. These poems are boundless in form and as they expand, they also magnetize, imploring us, 'come on/sense it!' And when we do, we get to be as wild and empathic as ife is in this book. These are jams, rituals, notations, enchantments for those of us who 'want poems that love.'"~Renee Gladman, author of Plans for Sentences