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Burning Sugar

4.65  ·  Rating details ·  48 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In this incendiary debut collection, activist and poet Cicely Belle Blain intimately revisits familiar spaces in geography, in the arts, and in personal history to expose the legacy of colonization and its impact on Black bodies. They use poetry to illuminate their activist work: exposing racism, especially anti-Blackness, and helping people see the connections between his ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published September 29th 2020 by Arsenal Pulp Press
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Average rating 4.65  · 
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Cicely Belle Belle
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote it and I think it's pretty good.
Karla Strand
This collection is an excellent example of how poetry can be used for revolutionary resistance, exposure of systemic oppression, and inspiration of rage that can move the world.
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fierce and revelatory poems from this brilliant human who burns so bright and makes art and activism of the forces that shape their life. CB is a master of endings that both surprise and move the reader. Their writing is raw, unflinching, and tonally honest, their voice, spliced with longing and visionary dreams. Love: I can feel Peter in every page—broke my heart and sewed it back together.

“We stood at the foothills of Davie Street; she seemed dormant, unexpecting, pressing snooze on liberation
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Many moments of Burning Sugar by Cicely Belle Blain made me feel seen and heard. Exploring multiracial identity, queerness, childhood and socialization, I agree with Vivek Shraya that the voice of this collection feels in conversation with other queer iconic writers in its clarity, imagery and precision. The collection is split into three sections: Place, Art, and Child. “Place” takes us city to city, looking at the beginnings and ending of living in a place, of understanding how and if we feel ...more
Zuri Scrivens
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Reading Burning Sugar was like having a conversation with the Black best friend I never knew I needed. Cicely Belle Blain highlights what’s been dismissed, erased or forgotten, and brings voice to so much that I’ve felt, yet couldn’t articulate.

With “Toronto”, I was shocked to realize that I didn’t know about the 2016 march on Davie St., while “First Grade” rendered me furious and distraught for the child that Cicely once was.

Blain’s collection of truths helped me feel seen in so many ways, wh
Julie Hurst
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
As I stated before in an update I was kindly sent a digital copy of this by the lovely people over at edelweis. All of my thoughts are my own. 4,5 stars. I am not someone well versed in poetry. But I’m making work of it to read more. After seeing on my goodreads how shockingly small the number of black authors was from which I had read books, I wanted to make work to read more black authors. I applied for a prerelease digital copy about a month ago, and I got accepted. I was over the moon and so ...more
Sep 02, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

yes, blood is thick,
but water is life- from "Father"
When I started reading these poems, I wasn't sure that the flow was for me. But the truth, pain, power, beauty, darkness, rage encased within each line and stanza spoke to the answering anger in me for our Blackness and shared history.
Each poem read, was like having the conversation, as I'm sure many of us have had and are tired of having, especially in these times, which are not
Jennifer Torry
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cicely Belle Blain has created a masterpiece. This book is a must read. Their careful attention to detail and diction creates a collection of poems that you feel rather than read. It’s moving, informative, transformational, personal, poignant, and so much more. Blain gives readers a glimpse into their personal experience as a black queer individual growing up and living on different continents yet experiencing the intergenerational and ongoing trauma that colonization inflicted on black people w ...more
Vanessa Raquel
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of meeting Cicely when I lived in Vancouver. I attended many of their trainings and learned so much about anti-black racism. This collection of poems was simply... magical. I felt so connected and saw myself in SO many of the topics and emotions. I am also a biracial queer person so it was truly entrancing. The kind of book to read again and again!
Nov 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, lgbt
this book came with glowing recommendations.
I loved the themes and stories in this book. The explorations of home, identity, place and resistance.
I did not as much feel the poetry but fall into the stories.
I look forward to reading more of their writing.
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, poetry
This book is a love letter to the self. A celebration of Blackness, queerness and life.
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved the flow of this collection. It’s intimate but philosophical and is 100% amazing.
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