February 6, 2024
9.00 Inches (US)
7.00 Inches (US)
$26.00 USD, £19.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Septet for the Luminous Ones

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
balsamic appeal

moist in the palms of our hands
a psalm a lamp a sap in our laps

an asp

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

About the Author

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.


"ife's new work...both extends and reframes the transhistorical spatial imagination of their earlier sequence 'porous aftermath,' which listens and bears witness to fugitive spirits, ancestral presences who escape the plantation economy and navigate the bayous of southern Louisiana. ... [It] answers the call of ancestral presences to 'elevate our dead.' 'the new black art is this —' writes ife, 'find the lost soul and love it."—Brian Teare, Kenyon Review, reviewing a previous edition or volume

"Maroon Choreography inspires as possibility for what poetry might be, how it might bring forth homage and critical theory about Blackness in new forms and fresh ways of thought. It disassembles. I'm drawn to books of all sorts that unravel dominant discourses that plague our imaginations, and ife does that."—Dawn Lundy Martin, Brooklyn Poets, reviewing a previous edition or volume

"Spectacularly allusive in its canny, concise segments, sometimes programmatic but more often simply learned, ife's 'tremulous / antegrammatical' work invokes 'the black morning of baldwin / across the river in another country.'"—Stephanie Burt, The New York Times, reviewing a previous edition or volume


"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

9780819500939 : septet-for-the-luminous-ones-ife
February 6, 2024
$26.00 USD

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