Encompassing the breadth of Cheryl Boyce-Taylor’s astounding career, The Limitless Heart is a time capsule of the boundless love, care, grief, and fortitude that make her work so stirring.
With deep empathy, thoughtfulness, charisma, and lyricism, Boyce-Taylor’s work explores questions of immigration, motherhood, and queer sensuality, among other themes. Grief is both an anchor and a door throughout Boyce-Taylor’s poetry, as seen in Mama Phife Represents, a hybrid of memoir and verse on the death of her son, Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor of A Tribe Called Quest. Questions regarding Blackness and Black womanhood in the United States are stitched throughout her books, and Boyce-Taylor leans into a more overtly defiant political register in her latest work, We Are Not Wearing Helmets, while maintaining the connective spine of the Trinidadian dialect that appears throughout all her work. Selections from these books, as well as her other poetry collections, appear in this new volume.
Curated from Boyce-Taylor’s body of work, The Limitless Heart encapsulates her progression as a writer throughout the decades of her highly successful career.
“I am eternally hopeful that more people in the world come to terms with understanding that for anyone to share an experience of grief is a true generosity. With Mama Phife Represents, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor allows a reader to bask in the generosity. The sharing of loss and grief is the building of a bridge that others who have experienced that specific loss can cross. This is a book about losing a child, yes. But beyond that, it is a book of tactile emotions, and a singularly musical writing, which Boyce-Taylor has always done so well. Above all, Mama Phife Represents shows anyone who has lost someone how to make the most of memory, and the most of their own survival.” —Hanif Abdurraqib, author of Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest
"The five poems from Mama Phife Represents excerpted here find Boyce-Taylor grappling with Phife’s death in terms that are often achingly descriptive and abstract, but also brutally honest and stark. “When Her Child Dies” and “Stone” offer a glimpse into the former category, while “When a House Lives Alone” captures the devastatingly banal task of packing up what Phife left behind. “Bali-Ethiopian Kitchen” finds Boyce-Taylor moving from fond memories to the frantic phone calls that followed her son’s death." —Rolling Stone, February 10, 2021