Black Bell

Alison C. Rollins

Forthcoming April 2024

Inspired by the nineteenth-century image of an enslaved woman wearing iron horns and bells, Alison C. Rollins’s Black Bell explores and catalogues both individual experience and collective memory. As Rollins sets out to resuscitate and embody the archive, we watch a chorus of historical figures like Eliza Harris, Henry “Box” Brown, and Lear Green appear; we listen in as Phillis Wheatley takes a Turing test; and we venture through the Inferno as it’s remixed with Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Poems travel across time and space, between the eighteenth century and futuristic fabulations, vibrating with fugitive frequencies, sounds of survival, and nerve-racking notes tuned toward love and liberation. Black Bell navigates what it means to be both invisible and spectacle, hidden and on display, allowing lyric language to become the material for fashioning wearable sculptures akin to Nick Cave’s “Soundsuits.” Integrating performance art practices, metalwork, and sonics, Black Bell becomes a multimedia meditation on freedom seeking, furthering the possibilities of the canvas of the page as well as the poet’s body.

ISBN: 9781556597008

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Alison C. Rollins, born and raised in St. Louis, currently works as a reference and instruction librarian for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Howard University and a Master of Library and Information Science form the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Rollins has worked for various public libraries including the DC Public Library and St. Louis Public Library. She is the second prizewinner of the 2016 James H. Nash Poetry contest and …

Read more