Funeral Diva


Product Details

$16.95  $15.76
City Lights Books
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.2 X 0.6 inches | 0.45 pounds

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About the Author

Poet, professor, and performer, Pamela Sneed is the author of Sweet Dreams, Kong, and Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom than Slavery. She was a Visiting Critic at Yale, and at Columbia University's School of the Arts, and is online faculty at Chicago's School of the Art Institute teaching Human Rights and Writing Art. She also teaches new genres at Columbia's School of the Arts in the Visual Dept. Her work is widely anthologized and appears in Nikki Giovanni's, The 100 Best African American Poems.

She has performed at the Whitney Museum, Brooklyn Museum, MOMA, Poetry Project, NYU and Pratt Universities, Smack Mellon Gallery, The High Line, Performa, Danspace, Performance Space, Joe's Pub, The Public Theater, SMFA, and BRIC. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Praise for Funeral Diva

"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

"The memoirlike latest from poet, performer, and visual artist Sneed evokes a queer and Black coming-of-age story and its wider cultural resonance. Vividly capturing an array of formative relationships with friends, lovers, and family from the late 1980s and early '90s, Sneed's recalled experiences take the reader from the Boston suburbs and AIDS pandemic-era New York to Cape Coast Castle in Ghana. Essays such as 'History' and 'Ila, ' reminiscent of writing by Hilton Als and influenced by Audre Lorde, cross-pollinate with poetic considerations of the present. Frequently, Sneed's tone is affectingly elegiac: 'And all those gay boys I met and worked with at a restaurant in Boston, / who disappeared like thousands of bits of paper, / wind just simply took' Yet just as often, this voice can be wry and lacerating: 'This is some high-wire sawed-in-half lady shit/ This is like some Hannah Arendt the banality of evil and/ the bureaucratization of homicide shit.' Sneed's speakers welcome complexity in poems like 'Bey' ('I have to say I envy Beyoncé/ That she gets to show up after the fact in New Orleans') and 'Survivor, ' which traces the speaker's uneasy feelings about daredevil swimmer Diana Nyad. In this book, bracing honesty reveals both the necessity and the costs of resilience."--Publishers Weekly

"If you wonder what political agency feels like, read this book. If you want to know what a broken heart feels like, read this book. If you're not sure how to express political agency in spite of a broken heart, read this book."--Avram Finkelstein, After Silence: A History of AIDS Through its Images

"These compositions are necessary to the very soul of art itself. Gratitude to the author. All of us should read and thank this poet repeatedly."--Gregg Bordowitz, author of General Idea: Imagevirus (The AIDS Project)