Divine, Divine, Divine

Divine, Divine, Divine


Divine, Divine, Divine is an exploration of the divine and the deviant. A consideration of the Black tongue as a home. Life and death through the lens of language. This collection is an ode to the experiences that make us whole and an acknowledgment of those things that fracture us.



Divine, Divine, Divine is a gorgeous text with an operating principle of abundance. Summerhill sees his people capable of a great many things -- of loving, of uprooting the canon, of dancing along the sometimes treacherous lines of their own history. And for this, the poems within this book each have their own pair of wings. I was grateful to have this book as my own small mirror, through which I saw a fuller version of all my possibilities.

Hanif Abdurraqib, poet, essayist, author of A Fortune for Your Disaster (2019) and They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us (2017), and the book of cultural criticism Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest (2019)

What language do Black people have or must dig up for themselves to remember who they are, especially in a language that never intended to remember them at all? In Divine, Divine, Divine, Daniel B. Summerhill shows how Black folk make beauty out of tragic circumstances by creating that magic in poems that inhale Black life and exhale its song. Summerhill speaks to the heartbreak and music cohabitating Black consciousness, the nuances of Black identity and the permeation of racial awareness during childhood. This collection is a necessary breath in how Black language evolves, is abandoned and then reclaimed, how it switches codes to aid in our own survival, how it can name us and we can choose how to be named. And ain’t that in itself, divine? Absolutely!

Danielle Colin, poet, Cave Canem Fellow, author of Dreaming in Kreyol

The language in Divine, Divine, Divine simmers with the burn and echo of ghosts. These poems are both ode and elegy for the body and the scar it makes to mark healing and trauma. The electric doubling back to images of voice, tongue, mouth, and song ask the reader what instruments, what incantations, will keep the body safe? What must the body become when the divine is decoupled from salvation, when the best hope for a prayer is that it becomes a blade? 

Natalie Graham, poet, author of Begin with a Failed Body

Summerhill holds two images up to the light and beckons us to examine them: the black body, alive; and the black body, dead. In the titular poem, “Divine, Divine, Divine”, the speaker begins with this declaration: “Aint no mama allowing their baby to swing from a tree without divine permission.” It is in this vein that we carefully lift, with the author’s guidance, the curtain on being black in America; we see, simultaneously, the devastation of mothers whose sons are lynched for being black and, in the imagery of ‘swinging’ (as opposed to ‘hanging’) – as if alluding to the old American Spiritual “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” – the divinity, the heart-breaking beauty of choiceless surrender.

Nkateko Masinga, poet, Ebedi International Writers Residency Fellow, author of The Heart is a Caged Animal