Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Staceyann Chin's memoir

A memoir, The Other Side of Paradise, by the amazing poet and spoken word artist Staceyann Chin comes out today. Chin, a Jamaican lesbian and longtime "out poet and political activist," as she characterizes herself, is reading tonight at 7:00 here in NYC at the Union Square Barnes & Noble. I can't make it but I'm sure anyone who can won't be disappointed. I saw her five or six years ago when she was in Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, and I was blown away by her talent. Is it too precious to call her a wordsmith? Hope not, because that's what she is, it seems to me, so skilled, so deft, word by word, phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence, poem by poem. This new book is a memoir, not poetry, but I have no doubt it's just as good. As her blurbers testify:
  • "I love this book--and I am completely hamstrung by the feelings it evokes."--Walter Mosley
  • "Liberating, beautiful and life-affirming."--Russell Simmons
  • "How wonderful that this outrageous, talented, determined woman has given us her story."--Dorothy Allison