Side Notes from the Archivist: Poems
The award-winning, genre-crossing writer demonstrates her power as a funkadelic and formidable feminist voice in this rich and beautiful collection of verse and image—a multi-part retrospective that traverses time, space, and reality to illuminate the expansiveness of Black femme lives.
Voted one of the Best Books of 2023 by the New York Public Library.
Side Notes from the Archivist is a preservation of Black culture viewed through a feminist lens. The Archivist leads readers through poems that epitomize youthful renditions of a Black girl coming of age in Philadelphia’s pre-funk ’80s; episodic adventures of “the Black Girl” whose life is depicted through the white gaze; and selections of verse evincing affection for self and testimony to the magnificence within Black femme culture at-large.
Every poem in Side Notes elevates and honestly illustrates the buoyancy of Blackness and the calamity of Black lives on earth. In her uniquely embracing and experimental style, Anastacia-Reneé documents these truths as celebrations of diverse subjects, from Solid Gold to halal hotdogs; as homages and reflections on iconic images, from Marsha P. Johnson to Aunt Jemima; and as critiques of systemic oppression forcing some to countdown their last heartbeat.
From internet “Fame” to the toxicity of the white gaze, Side Notes from the Archivist cements Anastacia-Reneé role as a leading light in the womanist movement—an artist whose work is in conversation with advocates of Black culture and thought such as Audre Lorde, Amiri Baraka, and Nikki Giovanni.
Praise for Side Notes from the Archivist: Poems
"Casting a sharp side-eye at the past with urgent syntax that rockets a reader forward, Anastacia-Reneé’s newest collection is a trenchant critique of US American f#@ckeries. This is a communal book in which unruly voices account for the dead; there are far too many to remember and more coming soon. Side Notes From the Archivist moves the margins to the center, retroactively claiming space and meaning to hold it into whatever future there is." — —Douglas Kearney,author of Sho and The Black Automaton
"What a heavy load to carry and present memory as archivist. But memory is the original archivist. These memories do the labor of dating, storing and preserving objects of queer-ness, girl into woman and hood-ness within temperatures that center their integrity. Anastacia is a poetry-teller. A raw griot. The duty of a griot is to become a body for memories. And with this collection of work, Anastacia has showed up ready for duty." — —Avery Young, author of neckbone: visual verses and Chicago Poet Laureate
"Precise and cutting." — Book Riot
"Side Notes from the Archivist offers a master class in how a poet can express, encompass and evoke ambivalent feelings and complex realities with a startling immediacy that the 'sad collected data' of prose rarely achieves. The deft tonal shifts of Anastacia-Reneé’s words and delivery amuse, disarm and devastate. . . For all the seriousness of its subject matter, this audiobook is a triumph of sardonic wit and compassion, culminating in three deliciously profane yoga poses guaranteed to bring deep relief for the tired and disgusted." — Seattle Times
"2023 brings a new collection of poetry from Anastacia-Reneé, a feminist voice whose voice lends a fearless, unabashed, intelligent and graceful view of Black femme realities. . . This collection, as a capsule of individualistic experimentation through poetry, will lead Black poetry and literature into a futurist, post-modern form of creatively relaying the past." — New York Amsterdam News
"Beginning in the 1980s with 'a badrillion girl bands & boy bands & big group bands,' this book looks at life in 'retroflect' from a middle-schooler’s point of view — which feels quite nostalgic, until the author reaches adulthood in her narrative. From there, the collection reads like a list of 'episodes' of a TV show, tales of love of self and others, Black queer life, and a surprisingly overwhelming sense of power to round up the book." — Nationally Syndicated Bookworm Sez
"A great read for National Poetry Month." — Good Day Northern Michigan