About the book
Diverse and inherently political as the people of the African diaspora of whom it celebrates, Black Cotton is a masterful showcase from a queer, black poet whose cross-continental writing and performances have been described as ‘a visceral and sonic world of teeth and tornadoes’. Kindred to Sea Sharp’s prize-winning debut, The Swagger of Dorothy Gale & Other Filthy Ways to Strut (2017), which is deeply rooted in the poet’s native Kansas, Black Cotton swoops over the untamed Atlantic to take a deeper, broader and more focused look at the woolly ways in which intolerance is manifested and flourishes. In detangling intergenerational trauma, Black Cotton softens the damage caused by internalised oppression and exposes the shame of normative whiteness. As the opening poem suggests, this voluminous collection is so much more than just a ‘reasonable apology for lookin' like that’. Rather, in its styled linguistic verve, it takes the reader by the short and curlies, with an unflinching and uncompromising effort to illuminate and critique how we mistreat each other and ourselves. Dangerously vulnerable like wisps of afro-textured hair, the poems of Black Cotton, shed their delicate strands of truth for any diligent reader who combs these unruly pages.
"Everything you ever wanted to know about race, gender and sexuality but were afraid to ask, Sea Sharp tells it without fear or apology but with confidence and control ... Black Cotton is a book you’ll want to share and talk about with friends, family and lovers.
“Sea Sharp writes poems that devastate and inspire. After an impressive debut, Black Cotton sees them dare to return to images from childhood that deeply haunt them still and probe, too, both racial privilege and experiences of migration and prejudice: 'My skin has become the most intimidating colour in my entire wardrobe ... Her Majesty the Queen has outlawed my favourite insects'. These politically urgent and structurally daring poems are sensitive throughout to the power of sound and silence to make the body tremble. The phrase-making here is also incredibly fresh and distinctive. Here is an important voice. Here is language that crackles."