Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals

Regular price $ 15.00

by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

AK Press

11/17/2020, paperback

SKU: 9781849353977


Undrowned is a book-length meditation for social movements and our whole species based on the subversive and transformative guidance of marine mammals.

Our aquatic cousins are queer, fierce, protective of each other, complex, shaped by conflict, and struggling to survive the extractive and militarized conditions our species has imposed on the ocean. Gumbs employs a brilliant mix of poetic sensibility and naturalist observation to show what they might teach us, producing not a specific agenda but an unfolding space for wondering and questioning.

From the relationship between the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale and Gumbs's Shinnecock and enslaved ancestors to the ways echolocation changes our understandings of "vision" and visionary action, this is a masterful use of metaphor and natural models in the service of social justice.

With a foreword by adrienne maree brown.

Part of the Emergent Strategy Series.


"Alexis Pauline Gumbs pushes us out of our comfort zone and into the sea, where other species are moving and mothering in ways that can teach us how to survive. With her beautifully rendered reflections on the habits and habitats of seals, otters and manatees, Gumbs shows us that humans aren't the only ones affected by climate change, and that other mammals know the pain of having their children hunted. Undrowned is a gift and its message is clear: The natural world offers solutions if we just pay attention."--Dani McClain, author of We Live for the We

"Undrowned profoundly exemplifies the distinct ways that Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a liaison between the seen and unseen. Her words are libation, meditation, and an incantation that invites us to re-member the interconnectedness between humans and marine mammals. In centering Black feminist praxis, Undrowned is a non-Christocentric baptism into the depth of the ocean and the depth of ourselves. Dr. Gumbs's offering reminds us that what is dark, hidden, and immersed in water is sacred and holy. Read it alone and with others, in parts, and whole. Come to the sea and be healed."--Aishah Shahidah Simmons, creator of NO! The Rape Documentary and author of Love WITH Accountability: Digging Up the Roots of Child Sexual Abuse

"Alexis Pauline Gumbs breaks the surface of living as human and deep dives the depths of life in the planet's oceans, where human life began but is now a danger to. Gumbs's riveting, loving, genre-bending embrace of marine mammals and the human peril facing them, her mammal love, charges us to rethink and re-behave what it means to be human as she reminds us humans are mammals too, all life is sacred. On every page, Alexis Pauline Gumbs offers us a new definition of philosophy, a new definition of evolution. If we truly want a more just way of living, of being interspecies. This is a smart, black feminist, queer poetic; a love evangelist trouble making abolitionist offering. Take it. And be the change." --Alexis DeVeaux, author of Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde

"This book is a devotional. An invitation to live more intentionally, more in harmony/Aligned.In this book, the Divine Mermaid, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, dives inside the wails of the Ancestors as she gives testament and testimony to the brilliance of Knowing Spirit beyond the veils of time, place and embodiment. Here, Alexis serves as guide and translator of vibrational realities of dreaming into how to survive, thrive and shape shift this world."--Sharon Bridgforth, Doris Duke Performing Artist

About the Contributors:

Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a poet, independent scholar, and activist. She is the author of Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity, M Archive: After the End of the World, and Dub: Finding Ceremony; coeditor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines; and the founder of Brilliance Remastered, an online network and series of retreats and online intensives serving community accountable intellectuals and artists.

adrienne maree brown is editor of the Emergent Strategy Series, including Pleasure Activism, and co-editor of Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements.