Book Review: Love Cake

(Originally posted on Feb. 15, online at the University of Florida Honors Magazine, PRISM)

Recently, I reviewed Big Bang Press’ new book, A Hero at the End of the World. It was exciting to review a Young Adult literature book that was newly published from such an innovative press. Many college readers have never been introduced to different, more obscure genres of books and press before, but reading new types of books can be incredibly rewarding. Expand your reading lists! To quote the words of the mystical Professor Trelawney, “Broaden your minds!”

In the spirit of continuing to introduce books and literary material that might be considered unusual or slightly foreign to the college audience, my next book review concerns the devastatingly raw and politically unapologetic work of Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, a queer woman of color and a Sri Lankan writer, performer and teacher. I recently read her 2011 collection of poetry, titled Love Cake. I was blown away by the lyrical imagery and the immediate and intimate message bursting from the pages.

To give some background on the talented writer, Samarasinha teaches at UC Berkeley’s June Jordan’s Poetry for the People and her performance show, Grown Woman Show, tours throughout America and Canada. She is the author of another collection of essays and poems, Consenual Genocide, and her writing has featured in many feminist and queer theory anthologies. Samarasinha has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and in 2010 was named one of the Feminist Press’ 40 Feminists under 40 Shaping the Future.

It is strange to give such a textbook, cut and dry depiction of Samarasinha’s accomplishments in this article, when after reading Love Cake I feel as though I have been treated to a glimpse into her innermost thoughts, beliefs, and struggles. Love Cake is a small collection of poems, only 97 pages long, but it packs a punch of flavor to its’ meticulously crafted recipe; the issues addressed in Samarasinha’s poetry seamlessly weave together into the experience of a woman, as well as the experience of a culture….

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