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Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Writer, Scholar, Poet, Activist & Educator

Writer, Scholar, Poet, Activist & Educator

Travels From Travels From:
Durham, NC, USA
Speaking Fee Speaking Fee:

Alexis Pauline Gumbs Biography

Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a Queer Black Troublemaker and Black Feminist Love Evangelist and an aspirational cousin to all sentient beings. Her work in this lifetime is to facilitate infinite, unstoppable ancestral love in practice. Her poetic work in response to the needs of her cherished communities has held space for multitudes in mourning and movement. Gumbs' co-edited volume "Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines" (PM Press, 2016) has shifted the conversation on mothering, parenting and queer transformation. Gumbs has transformed the scope of intellectual, creative and oracular writing with her triptych of experimental works published by Duke University Press (Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity in 2016, M Archive: After the End of the World in 2018 and Dub: Finding Ceremony, 2020.) Unlike most academic texts, Gumbs' work has inspired artists across form to create dance works, installation work, paintings, processionals, divination practices, operas, quilts and more.

Gumbs is the founder of Brilliance Remastered, an online network and series of retreats and online intensives serving community accountable intellectuals and artists in the legacies of Audre Lorde’s profound statement in “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” that the preceding statement is “only threatening to those…who still think of the master’s house as their only source of support.” Through retreats on ancestor accountable intellectual practice, and online courses on topics from anger as a resource to transnational intellectual solidarity Gumbs and her Brilliance Remastered collaborators have nurtured a community of thinkers and artists grounded in the resources that normative institutions ignore.

All of Gumbs' work is grounded in a community building ethic and would not be possible without her communities of accountability in Durham, NC the broader US Southeast and the global south. As a co-founder member of UBUNTU A Women of Color Survivor-Led Coalition to End Gendered Violence, Warrior Healers Organizing Trust and Earthseed Land Collective in Durham, NC, a member of the first visioning council of Kindred Southern Healing Justice Network and a participant in Southerners on New Ground, Allied Media Projects, Black Women’s Blueprint and the International Black Youth Summit for more than a decade she brings a passion for the issues that impact oppressed communities and an intimate knowledge of the resilience of movements led by Black, indigenous, working class women and queer people of color. Her writings in key movement periodicals such as Make/Shift, Left Turn, The Abolitionist, Ms. Magazine, and the collections Abolition Now, The Revolution Starts at Home, Dear Sister and the Transformative Justice Reader have offered clarity and inspiration to generations of activists.

Gumbs work with her primary collaborator Sangodare has shown the world a Queer Black Feminist Love Ethic in practice. Over the past 11 years they have nurtured the Mobile Homecoming Project, an experiential archive amplifying generations of Black LGBTQ Brilliance which has consisted of listening tour of the United States (in a 1988 Winnebago!) 7 intergenerational retreats and pilgrimages in the Southeast US, a media and audio archive of many Black Feminist LGBTQ elders and is now in the land stewardship phase of building a living library and archive that serves as an all ages independent and assisted living community of intergenerational learning and love. Sangodare and Gumbs are also the co-founders of Black Feminist Film School, an initiative to screen, study and produce films with a Black feminist ethic. Sangodare and Gumbs have also collaborated on the exhibition Breathing Back at the Carrack Gallery in Durham, NC and more than 50 visits to campuses, organizations and conferences in the United States.

Gumbs was honored by the Anguilla Literary Festival as “The Pride of Anguilla,” a small country where her grandparents Jeremiah and Lydia Gumbs played key roles in the 1967 revolution. She identifies proudly as a queer Caribbean author and scholar in the tradition of Audre Lorde, June Jordan, M. Jacqui Alexander, Dionne Brand and many more. She was the first scholar to research in the papers of Audre Lorde at Spelman College, June Jordan at Harvard University and Lucille Clifton at Emory University during her research for her PhD in English, African and African American Studies and Women and Gender Studies from Duke University. She is published in dozens of edited collections and academic journals on topics ranging from black coding practices to queer caribbean poetics, to mothering in hip hop culture. She speaks as a Black feminist expert in a number of films including Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth by Pratibha Parmar.

Gumbs’ poetry and fiction appears in many creative journals and has been honored with inclusion in Best American Experimental Writing, a Pushcart Prize nomination, and honors from the Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize and the Firefly Ridge Women of Color Award. She has been poet-in-residence at Make/Shift Magazine and is currently Creative Writing Editor at Feminist Studies.

Gumbs’ work as a media maker and her curricula for participatory digital education have been activated in 143 countries. Her digital distribution initiative BrokenBeautiful Press, her work as co-founder of Quirky Black Girls and her loving participation in the Women of Color Bloggers Network in the early 2000’s established her as one of the forerunners of the social media life of feminist critical and creative practice. Gumbs has been honored with many awards from her communities of practice including being lifted up on lists such as UTNE Readers 50 Visionaries Transforming the World, The Advocate’s 40 under 40, Go Magazines 100 Women We Love, the Bitch 50 List, ColorLines 10 LGBTQ Leaders Transforming the South, Reproductive Justice Reality Check’s Sheroes and more. She is a proud recipient of the Too Sexy for 501C-3 trophy, a Black Women’s Blueprint Visionary Award and the Barnard College Outstanding Young Alumna Award.

From 2017-2019, Gumbs served as visiting Winton Chair at University of Minnesota where she collaborated with Black feminist artists in the legacy of Laurie Carlos to create collaborative performances based on her books Spill and M Archive. During that time she served as dramaturg for the award winning world premiere of Sharon Bridgforth’s Dat Black Mermaid Man Lady directed by Ebony Noelle Golden.

Gumbs’ most recent book "Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals" part of adrienne maree brown’s Emergent Strategy Series at AK Press, won the 2022 Whiting Award in Nonfiction.

Gumbs was a 2020-2021 National Humanities Center Fellow, funded by the Founders Award, and is a 2022 National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellow. She is currently working her next book, "The Eternal Life of Audre Lorde" (forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

Alexis Pauline Gumbs Videos

  • Alexis Pauline Gumbs, “Nutmeg and the Scale of Revolution: for Audre Lorde”
    The inaugural event of the Pembroke Center Publics Initiative and Lecture Series featured Alexis Pauline Gumbs, who describes herself as a Queer...
  • In Conversation with Alexis Pauline Gumbs, author of "Undrowned"
    Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs is the author of "Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals," which won a Whiting Award. This video captures her...
  • Alexis Pauline Gumbs and the Future of Praxis
    Alexis Pauline Gumbs offered an interactive poetic meditation on the futures made possible by Sylvia Wynter's concept of being human as praxis based...

Alexis Pauline Gumbs Books

  • Dub: Finding Ceremony
    Dub: Finding Ceremony
  • Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals (Emergent Strategy)
    Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals (Emergent Strategy)
  • M Archive: After the End of the World
    M Archive: After the End of the World
  • Revolutionary Mothering
    Revolutionary Mothering
  • Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity
    Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity

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Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Alexis Pauline Gumbs for your event is available upon request. Alexis Pauline Gumbs generally travels from Durham, NC, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Nikki Giovanni, Rebecca Walker, Nkechi Taifa, Judith Arcana and Cassandra Worthy. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Alexis Pauline Gumbs for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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