Alexis Pauline Gumbs
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 DUB Alexis Pauline Gumbs continues with the third book in her poetry series, the first two books being Spill, inspired by Hortense Spillers, and M Archive, inspired by Jacqui Alexander. Whereas Spill deals with the contemporary afterlives of slavery and M Archive describes the post-dated evidence of our imminent apocalypse, DUB destroys Gumbs' own origin story, as she questions the assumptions and histories she has held onto most of her life. This text, through engagement with Sylvia Wynter's rigor, reinvents language outside of personal histories.
DUB is organized into topical sections, where spacious prose poems animate the voice of an underwater chorus in ceremonies that flow into one another. Beginning a daily writing practice, Gumbs wrote DUB based on moments of emphasis in Sylvia Wynter's essays (and one interview over several decades).
This book is influenced by the promiscuity and prolificity of dub music, the confrontational home-grown intimacy of dub poetry, and the descendants of this work. Dub uses the impact of repetition and the incantatory power of the spoken broken word. Gumbs uses dub to emphasize that Sylvia Wynter learned every colonial language and came to the conclusion that the ways of thinking that made colonialism and slavery imaginable were constructed over time and heretical to the ways of thinking that came before them; and so it must be possible to construct ways to understand life and place differently now as well.
Gumbs goes back to the origin stories that precede her and turns the blood into paint, emphasizing that "then" is also "now" through the broken and intense voices of ancestors. Inspired by Wynter's heretical poetic action against our deepest beliefs, DUB is an artifact and tool for breath retraining and interspecies ancestral listening.
Throughout the text, listening includes speakers who have never been considered human: whales and algae. Gumbs is attentive to kindred beyond taxonomy, questioning kinship loyalty, and suggests that our perceived survival needs are responses to a story we made up and told ourselves was written by our genes, a story that can be changed. This book will be of interest to scholars of African-American studies, diaspora studies, feminism, queer theory, English, creative writing and poetry"