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Table of Contents

A Note xi
How She Knew 1
How She Spelled It 17
How She Left 31
How She Survived until Then 45
What She Did Not Say 61
What He Was Thinking 75
Where She Ended Up 91
The Witnesses the Wayward the Waiting 111
How We Know 125
The Way 141
Acknowledgments 151
Notes 153
Bibliography 161

About the Author

Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a poet, independent scholar, and activist. She is coeditor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines and the Founder and Director of Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind, an educational program based in Durham, North Carolina.


"Gumbs's writing has luscious urgency and rhythmic drive, which will make it of interest beyond its titular audience." -- Barbara Hoffert * Library Journal *
"Spill is not just a poetic collection where art meets criticism or where art is criticism. Instead, it is an intricately woven, polyvocal, ever-expansive map that details and gives rise to new and old black feminisms instructing us how to live and move with(in) these proliferating epistemologies." -- Sasha Panaram * New Black Man (In Exile) *
"Inspired by the work of black feminist intellectual Hortense Spillers, Gumbs' collection of poems appear as a series of powerful scenarios. Reading the volume is akin to being a member of a theatre audience. The fourth wall is peeled away and one is suddenly witness to heartbreaking, inspiring and insightful scenes depicting fugitive black women and girls - unsung and celebrated 'sheroes' - seeking freedom from gendered violence and racism."
-- Thomasi McDonald * News & Observer *
"Spill is poetry that invites the reader to imagine these poems weren't written- they was lived, they were felt, and in some deep sense, re-membered. In other words, this book happened in somebody's body, a body committed to Black Feminist ways of knowing and feeling in the world.... By embracing and applying these through the form of the parable, Spill speaks to the radical, spiritual power that belongs to those 'black women who made and broke narrative.'" -- Lara Mimosa Montes * Poetry Project Review *
"Gumbs's poetry takes up the detritus of the everyday that surrounds theory - the affective social and political worlds in which black feminist theorists write - and bends it, splits it, like a prism breaking a beam of light into a rainbow." -- Maria Velazquez * The Cascadia Subduction Zone *
"Gumbs seamlessly moves between historic reference, inherited memories, and a series of visions or a journal of dreams-the result is bigger than text itself. Her writing blurs the lines between past, present, and future. The book communes with ancestral knowledge while offering conjectures of what could be, reminding us that Black women have always seen what comes next, past the edges of what seemed or seems possible.... Spill is first and foremost a love offering to all Black women, but all readers who bear witness will leave its pages knowing of radical imagined possibilities and the difficult path laid before us toward elsewhere: 'our work here is not done.'" -- Zaina Alsous * Bitch Magazine *
"This book is a commanding collection of scenes depicting fugitive Black women and girls seeking freedom from gendered violence and racism. Like Audre Lorde, Gumbs writes for the complexity of her vision." -- Jaki Shelton Green * NBC News (NBCBlk) *
"Blending my love of Black queer feminist authors with genre bending and analytically complex poetry, Gumbs's work inflicted pleasantly unfamiliar feelings upon me that I cannot 'claim to have invented.' Spill transformed me from a reluctant bystander of theory and poetry into a willing and enthused participant.... Alexis Pauline Gumbs's Spill is an offering for all seeking an unpredictable and experimental journey of Black feminist artistic expression and self-discovery." -- Eden Sena Kokui Segbefia * Scalawag *
"Gumbs not only speaks to the spiritual, bodily and otherworldly experience of black women, she allows readers to imagine new possibilities for poetry as a portal for understanding and deepening feminist theory." * Triangle Tribune *

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