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ISBN: 978-1-62557-079-6
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Categories Nomadic, Poetry

The Body: Oracle of Memory

Publication Date: February 2024


In June of 2023, Black Lawrence Press welcomed numerous existing and forthcoming Nomadic Press titles to our catalogue. The Body: Oracle of Memory was originally selected by Nomadic.

The Body: Oracle of Memory is an unapologetic analog of remembrances, immune systems, and visions that unwittingly holds us accountable as we engage its re-run fast-forward bio-magnetic sense reactor that tests the limits of today‘s western dictum. The Body may leave one in awe of its intelligence reviewing laws of ontologic mystery.


You must be connected to earth to read this book, because its effect is that of a live wire. Reader, get yourself grounded and then open these pages! The Body: Oracle of Memory reveals that all limitations of the body, mind, spirit, even the barriers of time are false. I trust the body and its wisdom, and mine, as I read these poems, pebbled over in goose bumps, chills coursing over my skin as if a thousand arrows leading to verification of the veracity of each line. This collection offers us lyric memoir and poem as spell casting into the highest possibility of ourselves. Mikell deftly composes a symphony on the page, using a keen ear for music and eye for scoring the reader’s breath, so as to invite you into a shared recitation of her magic. She demonstrates her expert technical skill in meter, line, and stanza, while also infusing the page with performative power. You will be changed by reading, by being within the world of these words of manifestation and realization. It is the new foundation.

Dr. Raina J. León, author of Black God Mother This Body

These verses by Tureeda Mikell sing the centuries of abuse and exploitation of Black bodies with utmost storytelling prowess, lustrous clarity, and galactic tone. She is Cosmic Mother, Iyami Aje. Poems of pain, as presented by Mikell, sting as they heal; even the funny ones slap. The subcutaneous wounds of memory can hide no longer—Mikell ruthlessly opens them with pure warrior priestess fire for complete healing. Behold her medicine of word: Nothing less than transcendence.

Youssef Alaoui, author of Fiercer Monsters

Lyrical, poetic wordplay. Like the goddess Ishtar, Tureeda Mikell spins many stories through her spellbound choice of words that would make the ancestors proud. Both powerful and philosophical, The Body: Oracle of Memory must be read by all lovers of poetry and the power of the written word.

Robert Alexander, author of I Ain’t Your Uncle

Tureeda Mikell has done it again. If you enjoyed Synchronicity: The Oracle of Sun Medicine, you will love The Body: Oracle of Memory. Tureeda, a veritable Story Medicine Woman, embodies routes to healing as she explores painful truths from child abuse to genocide so that the “horrors and ironies” in the poems create “a specific socio-logic impact.” Mikell’s poems take the reader on a journey through past and present to “sense the warning signs” while she deftly utilizes memory as medicine, memory as weapon, and memory as scalpel cutting our way to the truth. She teaches history and reacquaints us with ancestors while enhancing our “sense-abilities”, so we end up experiencing the ineffable and seeing the unseen. Tureeda Mikell’s collection delineates paths to healing that open when we listen to our bodies and listen through our bodies. The Body: Oracle of Memory shows us where we’ve come from and points out where we should be headed.

Yeva Johnson, author of Analog Poet Blues

The poems in Tureeda Mikell’s second full-length collection, The Body: Oracle of Memory, offer the reader powerful and provocative meditations on race, history, nature, healing, and spirituality. This much-anticipated book opens with “Oracle recalls / Histology remembers / Body wisdom’s cup” and what follows are poems that are recollections that span East Oakland, childhood, and autobiographical references to a life of engagement with art, education, and activism. Storyteller, healer, and truthteller, Mikell challenges and questions the institutions of church and religion, government and lawmakers. In “LOVE MY ENEMIES,” Mikell asks: “Force the enemy to love me? / Play Jesus nailed to the cross / Despite the loss of land, family / Language vision / Knowing justice system / Jails one in 33 providing / New plantations for Wall Street.” These are works that swoop and thrum with energy and outrage. In the chant, “Mama Coatl,” she intones, “We heard you Mama Coatl / We will not forget / Resistance is explicit my sister!” This bold and urgent collection reaffirms Mikell’s commitment to social justice while using the language of poetry as a “heavy dose of light medicine.”

Maw Shein Win, author of Storage Unit for the Spirit House

Tureeda Mikell’s The Body: Oracle of Memory is sacred storytelling, equal parts parable, and dream. Mikell weaves the music and storytelling in her unique style that deftly manipulates contemporary life, nature, scripture, and ancestral language.

The work in The Body defies flattening. It pulses with rhythm and complexity. In I HEARD THEM SAY, Mikell words rhyme an exorcism of the contradiction inherent in the everyday racism of America.

Kill when I tell you to kill …..!
I’m the subliminal criminal,
You can’t catch me ……
You do time for me in the penitentiary!

And yet, as I read through the body, it’s clear that this work is a call to collective healing, which cannot be done before the truth is told.

The Body is at times a story of what Mikell sees through a child’s eyes and at other times an indictment on our world, at times artfully both. Despite painful scenes, readers will find what I found, a lyrical ode to the beauty that Mikell sees all around us, and herself, a beckoning to see our world with wonder, love, and hope.

Who am I
to be subject to the
Awe of this?

Who am I? (from Dedicated to my East Oakland Hood)

MK Chavez, author of Dear Animal

To read The Body: Oracle of Memory by Tureeda Mikell, is to enter the space between molecules and energy fields. It is to watch the kaleidoscope of images multiply before one’s eyes as Tureeda re-interprets words: “tell-a-scope”, “sense ability” and “response ability” all taking on new meanings in her personal, creative vernacular. She collects and connects history and philosophy in her stories and poems, takes us along for the ride as she glides through the world with an open third eye. Her vision sees across oceans and lifetimes with what the Dogon people she speaks of describe as, “eyes [that] have not been corrupted”. Tureeda sees “psychic gunshots” and “spiritual lynchings”, explains their origins, offers a cure, and ultimately, leaves us with hope through her words.

Susana Praver-Pérez, author of Hurricanes, Love Affairs, & Other Disasters

About the Author

© Asual Ahmad

Tureeda Mikell

Tureeda Ture Ade Mikell, Story Medicine Woman, author, activist for holism, called ‘word magician,’ is an award-winning poet, published nationally and internationally. Qigong Healer, workshop leader, storyteller, lyricist, performance artist, founder of The Tree of Life Foundation H.L.P. , advocate for youth and adults. Published over 70 student anthologies with CA Poets in the Schools since 1989.  Performed in schools, libraries and universities, Google, Genentech, Aspire, Lawrence Hall, and Golden Gate Academy of Sciences, Randall, Oakland, and De Young Museums. Was featured spoken word artist at SOAN [Soul of a Nation] Exhibit, and the American Academy of Poets, Fire Thieves, at the De Young, and Museum of the African Diaspora, (MoAD) Lit-Quake Afrofuturism. Featured storyteller for the 55 Year Anniversary of the Black Panther Party, National Association of Black Storytellers, featured poet storyteller celebrating Octavia Butler’s 70th birthday, and Eth-Noh-Tec Nu Wa Delegate storyteller in Beijing, China in collaboration with the University of Beijing.  Recent publications of her work can be found in, Black Fire This Time (Willow Press, 2022), Revolutionary Poets Brigade, Second Stutter (City Lights, 2022) Common Ground (Pease Press, 2022) and many more. Her full length collection, Synchronicity, The Oracle of Sun Medicine, was released in 2020, and nominated for the California Book Award. She is also co-curator of the Patrice Lumumba Anthology, released in 2021 by Nomadic Press, both now at Black Lawrence Press. 2023 has presented Tureeda to, Filoli, Stories in Bloom, Atherton, Stanford University, Poets by the Bay, Berkeley Museum of Modern Art, Berkeley, San Jose Poetry Center, Beautiful Black Books (BBB) interviewed by Tshaka Campbell, Santa Clara Poet Laureate, San Jose Museum of Art Invitational, curated by Poet Laureate Tshaka Campbell, Yerba Buena Gardens for the Arts, San Francisco Intersection for the Arts, S.F. Belmont Poetry Center, Belmont, and more…

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