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About the event

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“All of my practice is centered on the love of Black women (…) all my practice is listening (…) writing is a primary way of listening” - Alexis Pauline Gumbs in conversation with Rosamond S. King.

We were so honored to host this event, the room was full of warmth, inspiration, and creativity. Please enjoy these photos by Laila Annmarie Stevens.

Please join us for "The Perhaps Unexpected," a reading and conversation with Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Dr. Rosamond S. King, two poets whose work is rooted in critical engagement with environmental realities and gives rise to radical imaginaries, as part of the series “Islands & Rivers: Poetry and the Art of the Possible in the Age of Climate Change.”

Recognized for their finely calibrated environments and richly interdependent publics, small island nations find themselves on the frontlines of climate change. Island responses to climate breakdown furnish activists, policy makers, and political leaders around the world with social, environmental, and civic tools to develop mitigation, adaptation, and planning that prioritizes human and more-than-human resilience. Seeding more than survival, surrounded by vast marine territories, island nations offer glimpses of alterity that inspire art, creative writing, critical theory, and policy application fundamental to understanding - and escaping - the colonialist, capitalistic, and catastrophic logics of our time. Few writers are better known for their capacity to see, perceive, and expand our understanding of the rich interplay between land and sea, center and periphery, island, mainland, and the maritime territories in between than Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Dr. Rosamond S. King.

Free and open to the public. The in-person event will be followed by a reception with refreshments and books by the authors. A recording of this event will be available here on our website after the event.


Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Photo by Sufia Ikbal-Doucet.

Alexis Pauline Gumbs is an activist, critic, poet, scholar, and educator. A self-described “Queer Black Troublemaker and Black Feminist Love Evangelist,” Gumbs is the author of Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals, Dub: Finding Ceremony, M Archive: After the End of the World, and Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity, and co-editor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines. She holds a PhD in English, African and African American Studies, and Women and Gender Studies from Duke University and is the co founder of Black Feminist Film School, an initiative to screen, study, and produce films with a Black feminist ethic. She lives in Durham, North Carolina, and is currently at work on The Eternal Life of Audre Lorde, a biography of Audre Lorde. Learn more about Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs at her website here.

Rosamond S. King

Critical and creative writer and performer Rosamond S. King draws on reality to present non-literal, culturally and politically engaged interpretations of African diaspora experiences. Her book Island Bodies: Transgressive Sexualities in the Caribbean Imagination was named “Best Book” by the Caribbean Studies Association.

King’s poetry collections include All the Rage and the Lambda Award-winning Rock | Salt | Stone. Her essays have appeared in LitHub, the Ms. blog, Sargasso, The Progressive, The Caribbean Review of Gender Studies, and elsewhere. She has performed at biennales, festivals, bookstores, and other venues around the world and in cyberspace.

King is the Carol L. Zicklin Honors Academy Chair and Professor of English at Brooklyn College, CUNY. Learn more about Dr. Rosamond S. King at her website here.

This conversation is a part of Islands and Rivers: Poetry and the Art of the Possible in the Age of Climate Change, a programming series that brings environmental justice framework to creative, humanistic practices. This event is organized and co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center, and GC Presents.