Black Chameleon: Memory, Womanhood, and Myth; Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton

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It's often said that Black women are magic, but what if they really are mythological?

Growing up as a Black girl in America, Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton yearned for stories she could connect to—true ones, of course, but also fables and mythologies that could help explain both the world and her place in it. Greek and Roman myths felt as dusty and foreign as ancient ruins, and tales by Black authors were often rooted too far in the past, a continent away.

Mouton’s memoir is a praise song and an elegy for Black womanhood. She tells her own story while remixing myths and drawing on traditions from all over the world: mothers literally grow eyes in the backs of their heads, children dust the childhood off their bodies, and women come to love the wildness of the hair they once tried to tame. With a poet’s gift for lyricism and poignancy, Mouton reflects on her childhood as the daughter of a preacher and a harsh but loving mother, living in the world as a Black woman whose love is all too often coupled with danger, and finally learning to be a mother to another Black girl in America.

Of the moment yet timeless, playful but incendiary, Mouton has staked out new territory in the memoir form.

March 7, 2023


About the Author

Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton is an internationally-recognized performance poet, playwright, director, and the first Black Poet Laureate of Houston. Author of the 2019 Poetry Collection Newsworthy (Bloomsday Literary), her genre-bending poetry has engendered unconventional collaborations with groups as disparate as the Houston Rockets and the Houston Ballet. Her work has been featured by Glamour, NPR, the BBC, ESPN, and the TEDx circuit. Her most notable productions include Marian's Song (Houston Grand Opera, 2020) & Plumshuga: The Rise of Lauren Anderson, (Stages, 2022).
Her most recent memoir, Black Chameleon (Henry Holt & Co) reflects on her journey as a Black American Woman and the mythology that guided her along the way.

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