“A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.” ― Jorge Luis Borges
If Borges is right, then an archive of books is also a being, albeit a larger one, representing a far more vast “axis of innumerable relationships.” The Black Writers Museum in Germantown, Pennsylvania, bears out this theory, placing books at the center of a community’s identity and its plight. Its founder, poet and activist Supreme Dow, happens to also be something of a human athenaeum; a trove of knowledge of black literature, history, and civil rights. And so this particular archive is not the dusty repository of a distant past, but a being in relationship that breathes and walks among its readers.
National in its scope—the only museum of its kind in the US—but also deeply local in its power and importance, Dow envisioned the museum as a place where he could expose the chasm between the way the media portrays black Americans and the way black Americans have written their own history, their own lives onto the page.
Sign Under Test, a selected poems, tr. into Russian by Ian Probstein, bilingual, published as an Android and IOS app: as you read each poems you listen to a sound recording in English or Russian, made by me and Ian Probstein for this publication.