Search View Archive

Erica N. Cardwell

Erica Cardwell is a writer and critic based in Brooklyn and Toronto.


Chronology, the winner of the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir, is a nonfiction collage of emails, journal entries, press releases, theory, and short bits of theatrical dialogue, producing an appropriate pastiche for the contemporary multimedia-trained brain. It is a hybrid text formulated from one’s personal archive, which is notable for the photographs and other ephemera tucked into the pages.

N.H. Pritchard’s The Matrix and EECCHHOOEESS

These poetry collections exemplify the literary innovation of this era—a commitment to the pursuit and study of sound and a symbolic resistance to legibility. Pritchard’s poetry illustrates a specific tenant of jazz poetics: words are more malleable when deconstructed.

JJJJJerome Ellis’s The Clearing

A songbook attentive to corporeal language-making processes often dismissed as impediments. The Clearing is not a metaphor—a symbol for clarity or realization—but an activation of ever-present clarity.

Gabrielle Civil’s the déjà vu: black dreams & black time

This book is a catalogue of the past, the pandemic present, and a contemplative future. It’s a moving record of the interior life and public performativity of a Black woman in her body.

Pope.L, My Kingdom for a Title

Equal parts a peek at the artist’s sketchbook and a career retrospective through Pope.L’s iterative textual analysis, this book enlivens the artist’s fascination with language as a core mode of inquiry.

Martine Syms and Rocket Caleshu’s The African Desperate

A critical study of the Black woman as a multidimensional figure in film, the screenplay is a unique accompanying text to the film. It highlights the sharpness of the dialogue, while adding clarity and balance to the scene work.

Christina Sharpe’s Ordinary Notes

This book offers temperature checks, tonal shifts, and a certain privacy for her Black readers. It involves a deep investment in the language making practice endowed by her mother.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues