A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home
A memoir by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (last name pronounced "Pee-EPP-shnah, Suh-muh-ruh-SINGH-hah"), a poet/activist who is well regarded within queer, South Asian, and disabled communities. While she has written essays and contributed to anthologies, this is her first non-poetry book to be published.
Leah, who was raised in Worcester, MA, describes how she ran away from America in 1996 and ended up in Toronto, where she found herself amidst a community of anarchopunks intent on revolution. Throughout the book, she works her way through the personal and the political of intersectionality as she comes to identify as a queer femme of color, as a disabled person grappling with chronic illness (she has suffered from fibromyalgia since 1998), and as an abuse survivor.
The "dirty river" of the title refers to Blackstone River near Worcester, which is contaminated due to the numerous factories in the area; it is Leah's metaphor for how coming to terms with her own "contaminated" past and becoming (and embracing) the complex person she is - and all of us are.
The book's autobiographical structure brings to mind Audre Lorde's Zumi.
This book combines Arsenal's interest in LGBT literature (Amber Dawn, Ivan E. Coyote) with postcolonial literature (Vivek Shraya, Wayde Compton).
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