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Topic: Adebe DeRango-Adem

The Reverb of a Burning: Burning Sugar by Cicely Belle Blain

Poet Cicely Belle Blain’s debut collection, Burning Sugar, is a book that arrives ready and having already blazed a trail. Organized in three sections (“Place,” “Art,” and “Child”), this book is not merely an exploration of Black and queer and femme identity, or Black history, or even the lived experience of what it means to travel while Black. It is all of these things, but also a psychogeography, a portrait of being a child of diaspora. These poems perform difficult work, yet still make room for compassion and self-love. Each poem is a call for Black joy, despite the eternally harrowing nature of “the waters that brought us here” (“Northern California”).