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Excerts From Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals To Whet Your Appetite

I just wanted to know which whale was which, but I found myself confronted with the colonial, racist, sexist, heteropatriachalizing, capitalist constructs that are trying to kill me- the net I'm already caught in... I learned to look between the loopholes of language, using the poetic practices I have had to use to find and love myself in a world that misnames me daily.

I am saying that those who survived in the underbellies of boats, under each other under unbreathable circumstances are the undrowned, and their breathing is not seperate from the drowning of their kin and fellow captives, their breathing is not seperate from the ocean, their breathing is not seperate from the sharp exhale of hunted whales, their kindred also. Their breathing did not make them individual survivors. It made a context. The context of undrowning. Breathing in unbreathable circumstances is what we do every day in the chokehold of racial gendered ableist capitalism. We are still undrowning.

Undrowned Employing a brilliant mix of poetic sensibility, naturalist observation, and Black feminist insights, Alexis Pauline Gumbs translates the submerged wisdom of marine mammals 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.