Uses of My Body, Simone Savannah


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“Uses of My Body is a bold first book about womanhood, daughterhood, and physical intimacy, and about how we experience these states only in larger communities of knowing. In these poems, Simone Savannah reaches an erotic zenith formerly known as the “lyric moment” in plainspoken and understated ways that make for surprise and awe: “The first time we met, we stood at each other’s bodies/talking directions and humidity./He said he wanted me/because he saw me standing/with my hip out in the middle of Kansas.” This is quite the unique and necessary debut.
—Jericho Brown

“I want a chance at my own body,” Simone Savannah writes in this stunning debut, & it is want that orbits Uses of My Body. Savannah centers & contemplates autonomy of one’s own black femme body, while also navigating the threat of power & violence from outside expectations, intimate relationships, & even strangers on the street. Through writing about the body, sex, and children the
manuscript engages, sets, and breaks expectations of womaness . . . .”
—Nabila Lovelace

In the spirit of Audre Lorde’s essay collection Sister Outsider, the charged and direct language of Uses of My Body emphasizes black women’s experience of erasure, sexual and racial violence, as well as pleasure and healing. The poems are marked by the refusal to code switch and speak to repeated experiences of being touched and looked at as a black woman navigating desire and intimate relationships. The book is an unapologetic and humorous exploration of sex, magic, and dancing, as a fitness instructor/gym junky, academic, and poet living in Kansas.


I am late to work today.
I have wanted to spend the morning
taking my time at the gym
taking my time to make love to myself. 
Each rep of a deadlift makes me feel so strong—
At work I pretend I can carry all tasks given to me
without thinking about myself.
The day I ordered a small power wand
between meetings with students
I felt like I could do anything I wanted
though I do ask myself when will I
have babies or just one baby
or if it is really true that I want someone
other than myself. 


Simone Savannah is a writer, performer, and teacher born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She is the author of Uses of My Body (Barrow Street 2020) and Like Kansas (Big Lucks 2018). Simone earned her Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Kansas, her M.Ed. and B.A. from Ohio University.

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Weight 6 oz