This Here Flesh
by Cole Arthur Riley
If you spend any time on Instagram, you may have already heard some of Cole Arthur Riley’s thoughts on her profile called Black Liturgies, “a space that integrates spiritual practice with Black emotion, Black literature, and the Black body” (https://colearthurriley.com/). In each chapter of her debut book, Riley takes a concept, such as dignity, wonder, fear, rest, or liberation, and writes on how these ideas weave into her grandmother and father’s stories, as well as her own. Part spiritual meditation, part narrative of her family’s lives, Riley powerfully develops themes of family, faith, and story throughout her book.
Riley does not shy away from writing about trauma in her family’s life. Neither does she simplify the complexities of the immense sorrows and joys that we find in our own lives. Her thoughts have a way of beginning to work into your skin, into your dreams, and they stick with you for a long time afterwards. I heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a spiritual meditation.
Review by Anthony, Technical Services