OUT NOW FROM PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE
* 2023 PEN Open Book Award Winner *
* 2023 Lambda Literary Award Winner *
* 2023 Chautauqua Prize Finalist *
* The New Yorker Magazine Best Book of 2022 *
* The New Yorker Magazine, Briefly Noted *
* BET's 5 Books to Read this Fall *
* Kirkus Reviews 100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Year *
PRAISE FOR THE BLACK PERIOD
“In this lyrical memoir, Geter, a poet, sets down a powerful vision of Black life in the United States by intertwining dual origin stories: her own (she is the daughter of an African American man and a Muslim Nigerian woman) and the nation’s, with its history of Native genocide and African enslavement. Recounting the lives of her forebears (enslaved people, sharecroppers, artists), she expresses grief and rage, but she also sees the potential for liberation, which she terms “the Black Period,” a time both prospective and realized, “where, if not our bodies, then our minds could be free.” Again and again, she asks, “What would it look like to emerge from erasure?” Her father’s oil paintings and charcoal drawings, scattered throughout the book, provide one response.”
-the new yorker Magazine, briefly noted
"Acclaimed poet Hafizah Augustus Geter tells her history of growing up the queer daughter of a Muslim Nigerian immigrant and a Black American visual artist...As she deconstructs pain, race, disability, and identity, Hafizah uses beautiful language to paint a picture of her unique voyage."
"The Black Period is multiple things at once: an astute reflection of the author as witness and narrator to the universal, a deeply personal and lovingly rendered tome, as well as a mirror of intersectional lives and experiences deserving of joy and visibility. Weighing the past and the present, weaving histories and livelihoods across continents and cultures, Hafizah Augustus Geter’s lyrical prose alongside the realistic portraiture by Tyrone Geter deftly create a book that is brilliant, bold, and genre-defying.” -PEN Open Book Award Judges, Jenn Baker, Nina McConigley, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, and Erika L. Sanchez
"With an evocative voice Geter takes her reader on a journey that transcends all preconceived ideas...a masterful accomplished storyteller.” -CHAUTAUQUA PRIZE
“In a book that is both an incredibly intimate memoir and a thoroughly researched commentary on race and identity, Geter explores the ways racial inequality has permeated every aspect of her life and illuminates the beautiful legacy of Black identity in spite of racism and skewed histories.”
"Geter’s expansive vision becomes much more than a self-portrait as it confronts how the human body keeps score—and survives. This poetic memoir delivers." -publishers weekly
“The Black Period is a stellar example of the brilliance it requires to walk the tightrope of offering a full portrait of a life, doing it generously, joyously, and with lush and rich storytelling. This book is a triumph of the form.” -Hanif Abdurraqib, Author of A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance
“A brilliant evocation of artistic and political restlessness, and an adventure in aesthetics—art, music, language and literature—which makes The Black Period that rarer thing, a record of sustaining joy.” -Alexander Chee, Author of The Queen Of The Night and How To Write An Autobiographical Novel
“In the most delicate prose, Geter searches deep into her own soul to bring forth truths that speak to the delicateness and strength of the Black being. Sparing nothing as she grounds Blackness in the very idea of life itself, her book is an affirmation of the strongest sort, not a plea, not a cry for recognition, but a simple and beautiful statement of our inevitability.” -Uzodinma Iweala, Author of Speak No Evil and Beasts of No Nation
“With The Black Period, Hafizah Augustus Geter announces herself as a storyteller, truth seeker, and path finder. With equal parts heart and rigor, this is a work that interrogates as it both mourns and celebrates. Geter's life spans the continents of the earth, but also crosses the lands and oceans of human experience. She is a genuine artist, not bound by genre or form. Her only loyalty is the harrowing beauty of the truth.” -Tayari jones, Author of An American Marriage
“The Black Period: On Personhood, Race & Origin is an absolutely stunning literary experience. If our creases could croon and our aches could wail, The Black Period is what it might sound like. Hafizah Augustus Geter has written a classic.” -kIESE LAYMON, Author of Heavy: An American Memoir
“An indictment, an elegy, and above all a work of brilliance, Hafizah Augustus Geter’s The Black Period is as richly layered as the stolen histories she calls forth. My world expanded reading this book. Yours will, too.” -Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, Author of THE FACT OF A BODY: A Murder & A Memoir
"The Black Period is among the most evocative and intellectually dazzling memoirs of recent times. Hafizah Augustus Geter takes us on multiple journeys: into family history; the painfully complex racial dynamics of the new world; the all-encompassing experience of illness. The very scale of the book's ambition makes it resistant to easy classification, but it deserves to be widely read and lauded, for it is written with a philosopher's discernment and a poet's imagination."
-Suketu Mehta, Author of This Land is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto and Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found
“Having already established herself with her debut poetry collection as one of the most promising young voices in recent years, Hafizah Augustus Geter is at it again. The Black Period, Geter’s prose debut, is as poignant as it is lyrical, incisive as it is insightful. But its most enviable quality is its range, its ambition. Drawing on personal history, cultural criticism, philosophy, psychology, and several world literatures, Geter is a traveler—intellectual, spiritual—determined to take us, lucky readers, on a journey of greater breadth and depth than nearly anything else being written today. This will be a book that endures. Period.” -John Murillo, Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry
“The Black Period is an astonishing book: one that contends with racism and climate change, stands against erasure, and finds new meanings in taking a transhistorical approach, weaving a powerful tapestry of memoir, cultural criticism, research, reporting, and hope. Hafizah Augustus Geter has crafted a book of extraordinary ambition, at once bracing, beautiful, and necessary—I couldn't put it down.” -Meghan O'Rourke, Author of The invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness
“With The Black Period, Hafizah Augustus Geter makes an extraordinary new contribution to Black thought. Through her words, we come to understand the idea of the Black Period: a thick spacetime slicing, a map, a culture, a formation of Black livingness, survival and thrival. Geter theorizes a deeply queer feminist Pan Africanism that is expansive in its vision. By acknowledging the fact of borders but refusing the politics of borders, she offers us an Afrofuturist guide. This book is an essential read for all of us concerned with navigating the century ahead. The Black Period is a triumph.” -Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Author of The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred
“The Black Period overflows with stories, family histories, disarming images and arresting truths, diving deep into our shared critical conversations about race, justice, history, and what we owe one another. Prepare to be absorbed.” -Jess Row, Author of The New Earth and white flights
Acclaimed poet Hafizah Augustus Geter reclaims her origin story in this “lyrical memoir” (The New Yorker)—combining biting criticism and haunting visuals.
“Hafizah Augustus Geter is a genuine artist, not bound by genre or form. Her only loyalty is the harrowing beauty of the truth.”—Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage
“I say, ‘the Black Period,’ and mean ‘home’ in all its shapeshifting ways.” A book of great hope, Hafizah Augustus Geter’s The Black Period creates a map for how to survive: a country, a closet, a mother’s death, and the terror of becoming who we are in a world not built to accommodate diverse identities.
At nineteen, she suddenly lost her mother to a stroke. Weeks later, her father became so heartsick that he needed a triple bypass.
Amid the crumbling of her world, Hafizah struggled to know how to mourn a Muslim woman in a freshly post-9/11 America. Weaving through a childhood populated with southern and Nigerian relatives, her days in a small Catholic school, and learning to accept her own sexuality, and in the face of a chronic pain disability that sends her pinballing through the grind that is the American Dream, Hafizah discovers that grief is a political condition. In confronting the many layers of existence that the world tries to deny, it becomes clear that in order to emerge from erasure, she must map out her own narrative.
Through a unique combination of gripping memoir, history, political analysis, cultural criticism, and Afrofuturist thought—alongside stunning original artwork created by her father, renowned artist Tyrone Geter—Hafizah leans into her parents’ lessons on the art of Black revision to create a space for the beauty of Blackness, Islam, disability, and queerness to flourish.
As exquisitely told as it is innovative, and with a lyricism that dazzles, The Black Period is a reminder that joy and tenderness require courage, too.