Nonfiction/Creative Essay: 164 pages
She is widely recognized as one of the most innovative and consequential performance poets of the last half century. A visionary, a medium, a storyteller possessed of extraordinary perlocutionary powers, capable of locating and seizing upon a listener’s every exposed nerve ending, Tracie Morris is a word magician who can make virtually every utterance into music and manifesto.
— Robin D.G. Kelley, professor of History and Black Studies at UCLA, author of several books, including Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination.
With hip talk and logic, Morris lays some shine on the be in our being as Black folk, writes us a love song for our lingo and a manifesto for making it plain. She asks all of us to flip the script with finesse, to hold the bullshit of public discourse to a flame and make art from the funky embers. Finally, a philosophy we can get down to. Like a quilt full of codes to crack and spill. Like a cowrie on the divination board of Black genius.
— Yolanda Wisher, Poet, Bandleader, Curator of Spoken Word, Philadelphia Contemporary, author of Monk Eats an Afro and third poet laureate of Philadelphia
In Who Do With Words, poet, performer and critic Tracie Morris joyfully and instructively blerds out in her love letter to and lecture on Black speech acts. Riff-reading as philosophizing, she dialogues with J. L. Austin, Samuel R. Delany, and many others, dropping serious science in the process. A pocket-sized delight, and she keeps it tight!
— John Keene, Professor and Chair of African American and African Studies, Rutgers University–Newark