How We Write Now: Living with Black Feminist Theory

Jennifer C. Nash


Duke University Press

"How We Write Now" book cover with illustration of Black woman sitting at a desk

In How We Write Now Jennifer C. Nash examines how Black feminists use beautiful writing to allow writers and readers to stay close to the field’s central object and preoccupation: loss. She demonstrates how contemporary Black feminist writers and theorists such as Jesmyn Ward, Elizabeth Alexander, Christina Sharpe, and Natasha Trethewey mobilize their prose to ask readers to feel, undo, and reassemble themselves. These intimate invitations are more than a set of tools for decoding the social world; Black feminist prose becomes a mode of living and feeling, dreaming and being, and a distinctly affective project that treats loss as not only paradigmatic of Black life, but also an aesthetic question. Through her own beautiful writing, Nash shows how Black feminism offers itself as a companion to readers to chart their own lives with and in loss, from devastating personal losses to organizing around the Movement for Black Lives. Charting her own losses, Nash reminds us that even as Black feminist writers get as close to loss as possible, it remains a slippery object that troubles memory and eludes capture.