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Funeral Diva

Sneed, Pamela
Format: Paperback
Publisher: City Lights Books
Published: November 12, 2020
ISBN: 9780872868113
160 pages
Country of publication: United States


A poetic memoir about coming-of-age in the AIDS era, and its effects on life and art. “Sneed is an acclaimed reader of her own poetry, and the book has the feeling of live performance. .

. . Its strength is in its abundance, its desire for language to stir body as well as mind.”-Parul Sehgal, The New York Times Book Review”She is a writer for the future, in that she defies genre.”-Hilton Als”This notable achievement, traveling from youth to adulthood, is a harrowing account of how Sneed transforms violence and pain into an artist’s life.”-Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen: An American Lyric”There’s an eerie sense of timeliness to this book, which features prose and poetry by the writer and teacher Pamela Sneed and is largely – though not entirely – about mourning Black gay men killed too soon by a deadly virus.”-Tomi Obaro, Buzzfeed”OH MY GOODNESS, it was amazing.

I was in tears by the end. What starts off as beautiful memoir evolves into incredibly moving poetry, painful and sweet and lovely.”-Marie Cloutier, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY”Balancing and mixing, with rhyme and reason, love and anger, good and bad, memory and the created present, all to tell the story of a life, a memoir unrestrained, devoid of artificial forms. Honest.

Free.”-Anjanette Delgado, New York Journal of BooksIn this collection of personal essays and poetry, acclaimed poet and performer Pamela Sneed details her coming of age in New York City during the late 1980s. Funeral Diva captures the impact of AIDS on Black Queer life, and highlights the enduring bonds between the living, the dying, and the dead. Sneed’s poems not only converse with lovers past and present, but also with her literary forebears-like James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde-whose aesthetic and thematic investments she renews for a contemporary American landscape.

Offering critical focus on matters from police brutality to LGBTQ+ rights, Funeral Diva confronts today’s most pressing issues with acerbic wit and audacity. The collection closes with Sneed’s reflections on the two pandemics of her time, AIDS and COVID-19, and the disproportionate impact of each on African American communities.

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