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Do Not Separate Her from Her Garden

Anne Spencer’s Ecopoetics
Carlyn Ena Ferrari
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Anne Spencer’s identity as an artist grew from her relationship to the natural world. During the New Negro Renaissance with which she is primarily associated, critics dismissed her writings on nature as apolitical and deracinated. Do Not Separate Her from Her Garden corrects that misconception, showing how Spencer used the natural world in innovative ways to express her Black womanhood, feminist politics, spirituality, and singular worldview. Employing ecopoetics as an analytical frame, Carlyn Ferrari recenters Spencer’s archive of ephemeral writings to cut to the core of her artistic ethos. Drawing primarily on unpublished, undated poetry and prose, this book represents a long overdue reassessment of an underappreciated literary figure. Not only does it resituate Spencer in the pantheon of American women of letters, but it uses her environmental credo to analyze works by Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, and Dionne Brand, positioning ecocritical readings as a new site of analysis of Black women’s writings.