Breath Better Spent
Living Black Girlhood
by DaMaris B. Hill
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Pub Date 25 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 03 Jan 2022
Bloomsbury USA, Bloomsbury Publishing
A Netgalley "Must-Read Books by Black Authors in 2022"
From the award-winning and critically acclaimed author of A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing comes a new book of narrative in verse that takes a personal and historical look at the experience of Black girlhood.
In Breath Better Spent, DaMaris B. Hill hoists her childhood self onto her shoulders, together taking in the landscape of Black girlhood in America. At a time when Black girls across the country are increasingly vulnerable to unjust violence, unwarranted incarceration, and unnoticed disappearance, Hill chooses to celebrate and protect the girl she carries, using the narrative-in-verse style of her acclaimed book A Bound Woman is a Dangerous Thing to revisit her youth. There, jelly sandals, Double Dutch beats, and chipped nail polish bring the breath of laughter; in adolescence, pomegranate lips, turntables, and love letters to other girls’ boyfriends bring the breath of longing. Yet these breaths cannot be taken alone, and as she carries her childhood self through the broader historical space of Black girls in America, Hill is forced to grapple with expression in a space of stereotype, desire in a space of hyper-sexuality, joy in a space of heartache.
Paying homage to prominent Black female figures from Zora Neale Hurston to Whitney Houston and Toni Morrison, Breath Better Spent invites you to walk through this landscape, too, exploring the spaces—both visible and invisible—that Black girls occupy in the national imagination, taking in the communal breath of girlhood, and asking yourself: In a country like America, what does active love and protection of Black girls look like?
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 12 members
In this poetry collection, DaMaris B. Hill explores Black girlhood, including her own, historically, and the current reality. Her writing is absolutely phenomenal and demands your time and attention. Even the introduction is a powerful work of art. This book—and anything written by Hill—cannot be missed.
stunning collection! i really appreciate Hill's continuing commitment to writing history poems of the then and the now. it's a really interesting juxtaposition of celebration, loss, memory, and survival. black girlhood is the driving force behind this book. which allows for a sense of wonder that i found particularly interesting. enjoyed much more than her first collection (which was still wonderful!)