This essay is a response to calls in Black studies in the last decade, by Jafari Allen and others, to excavate Black queer histories and experiences, including in archives where we least expect them. The author offers a queer reading of a foundational work in global Black literature often assumed to be irrelevant to such critical conversations: Aimé Césaire’s Notebook of a Return to the Native Land. He puts Césaire’s poem in dialogue with one of the three sketches produced by the Cuban painter Wifredo Lam for the 1943 Cuban translation of the Notebook—a drawing at once surrealist and decidedly queer. Using Lam’s multispecies interpretations as method and guide, the author teases out the few yet remarkable queer fragments that appear in Césaire’s subsequent revisions of the Notebook. What if in addition to an anticolonial Black poet, we also thought of Césaire as a queer poet?

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