As I have visited and revisited the overflowing, erotic geographies of these texts
over the past seven years—waking and dreaming, in body and in imagination,
tracing them in loving amazement—my gratitude to the women whose com-
plex, brilliant work I have had the honor to live with has deepened continually.
My first acknowledgments, therefore, go to them, for their generosity in giving
words and silences to their desires. Gloria Wekker, whose work on the mati I
stumbled on in a bookstore in Amsterdam and which immediately changed
my intellectual life, has been unflaggingly open and generous in answering
my questions over these years. Her support of my work, her transcription of
lobisingi—beautifully, even singing them for me—and, most important, the
work she has done to change the fields of Caribbean and queer studies, have
been invaluable to me. Jean Faubert has greeted my work on his grandmother
Ida with such luminous kindness and enthusiasm that I certainly cannot thank
him enough here. His ongoing willingness to share photos, information, and
encouragement has been an incredible, golden gift. Michelle Cliff and Dionne
Brand remain generous about answering my inquiries, a much appreciated act
for such busy writers. I thank you all abundantly.
And as I have worked to become a [better] writer about these writers, I have
been graced with incredible mentors who helped make my impossible aspira-
tions possible. First and foremost, Karl Britto, my dissertation director at the
University of California, Berkeley, has been a more wonderful advisor than I
ever could have imagined. From near and from far, he has read my chapters,
prospecti, worries, hopes, and joys for the last eleven years and has always
come back to me with calm, measure, and encouragement. Thank you, Karl;
this book exists because you nurtured it. Also at Berkeley, Chana Kronfeld’s
insightful, beautiful readings of my work and her purple-penned comments
have continued to be an inspiration, and I thank her for introducing me to
the possibilities of poetics. Johan Snapper, Estelle Tarica, and Francine Masiello
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