Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals. Alexis Pauline Gumbs (Author). AK Press 2020

More details


Undrowned is a book-length meditation for the entire human species, based on the subversive and transformative lessons of marine mammals. Alexis Pauline Gumbs has spent hundreds of hours watching our aquatic cousins. She has found them to be queer, fierce, protective of each other, complex, shaped by conflict, and struggling to survive the extractive and militarized conditions humans have imposed on the ocean. Employing a brilliant mix of poetic sensibility, naturalist observation, and Black feminist insights, she translates their submerged wisdom to reveal what they might teach us. The result is a powerful work of creative nonfiction that produces not a specific agenda but an unfolding space for wonder and questioning.

Part of the "Emergent Strategy" series, the book is divided into eighty short meditations, each grouped into “movements” with names like “Listen,” “Breath,” “Stay Black,” and “Go Deep.” A graceful use of metaphor and natural models in the service of social justice, it explores themes that range from the ways that echolocation might inform our understandings of visionary action to the similar ways that humans and marine mammals do—or might—adapt within our increasingly dire circumstances. Gumbs’s narrative moves seamlessly between dolphins born in captivity and Black political prisoners giving birth behind bars, between the migratory patterns of dolphins and the Atlantic slave trade. An absolutely unique read!

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.

Advance praise for Undrowned:

“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: The Political Power of Black Motherhood

"Reading Undrowned, I am re-convinced of the revolutionary potential of the life sciences, and in particular, of the necessity of a Black feminist biology. Alexis Pauline Gumbs listens so carefully to everybody —humans, whales, dolphins, corals, all beings, living and ancestral. It is a blessing that she has shared with us both what she has heard and the experimental methods for how she enacted her expansive listening. In Undrowned, Gumbs offers much-needed examples and practices for how to become sensitive and responsive to our sensitive, responsive kin-beyond-species. It is this loving attunement that makes Undrowned a work of poetry and of biology at its most perceptive and generative." —Kriti Sharma, author of Interdependence: Biology and Beyond

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

“Alexis Pauline-Gumbs takes us on her journey into deep relationship with marine mammals to offer a much needed mapping for these times. She shares with us how these ancestral whales, dolphins, seals, manatee and walrus cousins know to navigate and survive our carelessness and what they have to teach us about how to show up to ourselves and each other. She weaves brilliantly, as always, a tapestry of investigation, history, enlightenment, and truth-telling. She weaves with a poetic commitment to connect us with our fierce sea species relatives as they help us know how to move forward in a shared commitment to the possibilities of a lived love and justice.” —Tema Okun, author of The Emperor Has No Clothes:Teaching about Race and Racism to People Who Don't Want to Know


No products

£0.00 Shipping
£0.00 Total

Cart Check out

New products

  • Shut it down
  • Natural CausesAn Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer
Shut it down
Stories from a fierce, loving resistance, by Lisa Fithian. Chelsea Green...
Read more
Natural CausesAn Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer
An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves...
Read more
Farm fresh, African, Caribbean, and Southern flavours remixed. By Bryant...
Read more
Radical Belonging
How to survive and thrive in an unjust world (while transforming it for...
Read more
Total random old pamphlet bundle
Grab a bargain surprise bag of old pamphlets - £1 for 5!
Read more
Elephant editions grabbag
Grab bag of pamphlets by Elephant editions and Venomous Butterfly, 3 for £2
Read more
Kersplebedeb pamphlet bundle
Grab bag of pamphlets published by radical publishers Kersplebedeb. Grab...
Read more
Bundle of history pamphlets
Grab bag of pamphlets by Past Tense and Kate Sharpley Library - bargain...
Read more
Bundle of Manifestos
Grab bag of old manifesto publications, 4 for £2!
Read more
See Sharp Pamphlet Bundle
5 pamphlets by See Sharp Press for £4 - grab a bargain!
Read more
Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals. Alexis Pauline Gumbs...
Read more
The world we are fighting for
World War 3 Illustrated, Seth Tobocman (Editor); Peter Kuper (Editor);...
Read more
You don't play with revolution
The Montréal Lectures of C.L.R. James. CLR James and David Austin...
Read more
Re:imagining change
How to use story based strategy, 1st edition, 2010
Read more
The Alternative to Capitalism
Adam Buick and John Crump, 2013
Read more
Anarchist Studies Vol 25 *1 2017
Anarchist Studies is an inter-disciplinary journal of scholarly research...
Read more
Anarchist Studies Vol 24 Number 2 2016
The latest Anarchist Studies journal features Rojava and Japan
Read more
Roads, Runways and Resistance from the Newbury Bypass to Extinction Rebellion
Roads, Runways and Resistance draws on over 50 interviews with...
Read more
The Politics of Care
From COVID-19 to Black Lives Matter. Edited by Boston Review. Verso 2020
Read more
How to blow up a pipeline
Learning to fight in a world on fire. by Andreas Malm. Verso 2020
Read more

» All new products