A much-needed addition to social science and philosophy shelves everywhere ... the book allows readers to connect to women’s inner and outer truths—their desires, realities, hopes for the future, and immediate needs ... Most important, the flow of the book will propel people to read further, learn more, and delve deeply into the subject matter in the hope that all can gain more understanding. This groundbreaking anthology resonates with studies, tales, and songs that have been ignored for far too long ... It’s time people listen to Black lesbians and utilize that knowledge into action to improve lives. This book is a gateway into that action. An essential component to any social science shelf, this is transformative, vital reading.
This book might have been subtitled An Anthology of Black Lesbian Writing. After all, it offers poetry, fiction, and nonfiction—some of it scholarly and historical, and some of it confessional, poetic, personal ... The bodies in Mouths of Rain belong to women who are Black and lesbian. They all belong to Americans, specifically North Americans. The presence of Black gay women from other countries would have added depth to this book. All revolutions and revolutionaries, whether they are political, spiritual, cultural, sexual, or a combination of all four, play with language ... an erotic coming out of the closet anthology that takes individual voices and weaves them together in a chorus that’s loud, raucous, and lyrical ... There’s also humor ... Now 75, Smith is a wise elder who ought to be far more widely known than she is. Mouths of Rain offers readers a rare opportunity to begin to hear the way her mind works.
The selections are wide-ranging enough so that every reader can find something of interest, from scholars and students to those just casually exploring the subject. One minor drawback, though, is a lack of publication dates for the older, 'vintage' pieces. While reading them usually makes the era apparent, providing dates at the start might give a more immediate sense of the historical development. Still, the diversity of pieces, from across time and labels, written by 'dykes, queer women, butches, femmes, and lesbians,' as Cheryl Clarke writes in her foreword, impressively shows the richness of Black lesbian intellectual life ... a timely anthology of writings that will certainly spark conversations, connections, and ideas, both within the community and beyond.