Leila Taylor - "Darkly" - Tara Betts

Friday, November 22, 2019 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Leila Taylor

"I am struck by the depth of Leila Taylor's vision. The generosity shown in the way a history (and present) is illuminated. This book does so much beautiful work to widen the expectations and understandings of blackness, and I am immensely thankful for it." – Hanif Abdurraqib, New York Times bestselling author

Leila Taylor discusses Darkly: Black History and America's Gothic Soul. She will be joined in conversation by Tara Betts. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the book: To be a goth is to be out of joint with your surroundings—prone to daydreaming and longing for something beyond the here and now. This can be dangerous for a Black person in the United States, where lingering somewhere often results in violence and simply existing in a space is enough to warrant a call to the police. To be Black and a goth is a kind of double marginalization.  

In Darkly, Leila Taylor, a self-described AfroGothicist, explores the intersection of Black culture and goth culture, connecting it to a permanent state of melancholy resulting from slavery and the continuous subjugation of Black people. From the eerie post-industrial streets of her hometown Detroit to the unmarked burial grounds of servants and slaves under New York City, Taylor argues that the American Gothic is a result of the repressed and unresolved trauma of racial oppression.

But Darkly is also about how the terror of American racism has been metamorphosed into AfroGothicist art. This can be seen in the music of Billie Holiday and M Lamar, the novels of Octavia Butler, and the films of Jordan Peele. A unique debut, Darkly argues that until racial oppression is dismantled America will continue to be haunted, sleeping with one eye open. 

About the author: Leila Taylor is the Creative Director of the Brooklyn Public Library and has given talks at the International Gothic Association and the Morbid Anatomy Museum. Darkly is her first book.

About the interlocutor: Tara Betts is the author of Break the Habit and Arc & Hue as well as the chapbooks 7 x 7: kwansabas andTHE GREATEST!: An Homage to Muhammad Ali. Tara holds a Ph.D. from Binghamton University and a MFA from New England College. She is part of the MFA faculty at Chicago State University and Stonecoast-University of Southern Maine.

Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637