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Because When God Is Too Busy
Haiti, me & THE WORLD
Gina Athena Ulysse

2017 • 112 pp. 31 illus. 7 1/2 x 9 1/4"
African-American Studies / Poetry - Caribbean & Latin American

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7735-1
$11.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7736-8

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

A poetic journey through silence, rebellious rage, love, and the sacred

Gina Athena Ulysse’s Because When God Is Too Busy: Haïti, me & THE WORLD is a lyrically vivid meditative journey that is unapologetic in its determination to name, embrace and reclaim a revolutionary Blackness that has been historically stigmatized and denied. Crafting experiments with “ethnographic collectibles” of word, performative sounds, and imagery to blur genres and the lines between the geopolitical and the personal, this collection is a testament to postcolonial inheritances. Ulysse’s work remixes samples from a range of references as it beckons readers to bear witness to a coming of age as she shifts between time and place and plays with languages to stretch the margins of aesthetics in the academic. These poems, performance texts, and photographs gather fractured memories—longings laced with Vodou chants confronting a past that looms too largely in the present. Because When God Is Too Busy searches for humility while honoring sacred and ancestral imperatives to recognize and salute power beyond Western attachments to reason.

Reviews / Endorsements

“This beautiful set of reflections on being Haitian, being a black woman by the artist-scholar Gina Athena Ulysse, goes beyond the disciplinary divides established by colonial epistemologies to explore a decolonial space in which poetry becomes philosophy, and anthropology helps us remember our ancestral stories and practices. This is a brave and necessary exploration.” —Diana Taylor, New York University

“What – for me – new to this work – a compelling discovery tho i wish i cd hear some of its perform- ance sound : the chants, the rituals, the alive & agony, always the marassa three-line repetition, w/in a work grounded in the catastrophic and tri- umphant births of Haiti – each time each time each reach of time – a one more wonderful vision of the formation  of complex modernity from this young herself Haitian-born woman”—≤kamau Brathwaite

“Gina Ulysse is a force of nature. Her work comes alive with such power that I'm surprised it doesn't set the page on fire. Fierce, fearless, and passionate, she delights us, shakes us up, educates us, and after reading her poignant and powerful book, she becomes as indispensable to us as her amazing work.”—Edwidge Danticat, author of Brother, I'm Dying


Long-Listed for the PEN America Open Book Award (2018)

GINA ATHENA ULYSSE is an artist-academic-activist originally from Pétion-Ville, Haïti. Her creative works include spokenword, performance art, and installation pieces. Her poetry has appeared in several journals and collections. She is the author of Downtown Ladies: Informal Commercial Importers, a Haitian Anthropologist and Self-Making in Jamaica and Why Haiti Needs New Narratives: A Post-Quake Chronicle, and is a professor of Anthropology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

Fri, 9 Nov 2018 09:37:50 -0500