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American Equations in Black Classical Music by Camae Ayewa

American Equations in Black Classical Music by Camae Ayewa




This title is on pre-sale. Pre-orders ship May 2024.

Softcover with French flaps
5 in. x 7 in. | 12.7 cm x 17.78 cm
136 pages

A new collection that is a testament to the power of poetry as a vehicle for introspection, social commentary, and artistic expression. 

With its evocative verses and resonant themes, American Equations in Black Classical Music invites readers on a transformative journey through the melodic landscapes of jazz, the analytical realms of economics, and the intricacies of American life. While making room for the speculative, American Equations in Black Classical Music allows one's imagination to begin to continue to draw from past lessons/innovations to hack future portals for these traditions to breathe new lives. 

A poet known for her work as Moor Mother, Ayewa's poems hold that same power. In the poetic tradition of jazz and protest poetry of the 60s and 70s, Ayewa continues to question systems and make connections between the historical and the present. In the tradition of her artistic group Black Quantum Futurism, Ayewa’s poems speak to the communal survival mechanisms and temporal technologies that Black musicians and artistic communities have developed, uncovered, and reconfigured to combat temporal oppression and reclaim our time. 

American Equations is an intricate interplay of history, society, and the human condition
—it illuminates the stark realities and poignant struggles of the past and present. From the vibrant jazz culture to the pressing economic disparities, from racial equations to the melancholic strains of blues, and from the enduring legacy of black classical music to the profound impact of time and speculation, these poems delve deep into the interconnections and entanglements that shape our world.

Cover design by Matt Dorfman.


Camae Ayewa, better known by her stage name Moor Mother, is a national and international touring musician, poet, visual artist, and Professor of Composition at the USC Thornton School of Music. Her work speaks to many genres from electronic to free jazz and classical music. Camae's work has been featured at the Guggenheim Museum, The Met, Carnegie Mellon and Carnegie Hall, Documenta 15, the Berlin Jazz Festival, and the Glastonbury Festival. Through the lens and practice of Black Quantum Futurism, the art she makes is a statement for the future, as well as a way to honor the present and its historic connections to a multitude of past realities and future outcomes. She is one half of the collective Black Quantum Futurism, along with Rasheedah Phillips.

Matt Dorfman is a designer, artist, and art director for the New York Times Book Review. While also maintaining a one-person office specializing in culture-centric projects and storytelling, Dorfman counts Serial, Penguin/Random House, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, The Atlantic, New Directions and Fresh Air with Terry Gross, among others, as his partners. He was recognized by the Society of Illustrators with the Richard Gangel Award for Art Direction in 2022.