2018 Forthcoming Poetry Books by Queer People of Color
(Full-Lengths and chapbooks are both included in this list.)
Stereo(TYPE) by Jonah Mixon-Webster (February).Mixon-Webster is a poet, sound artist, and educator from Flint, MI. He is a Ph.D. candidate in English Studies at Illinois State University, and has been awarded fellowships at Vermont Studio Center and Callaloo Writer’s Workshop. His poetry and hybrid works are featured or forthcoming in Barzakh Journal, small po[r]tions, Shade Journal, Propter Nos, Spoon River Poetry Review, Blueshift Journal, Assaracus, Callaloo, LA Review of Books’ Voluble, and the anthologies Zombie Variations Symposium and Best American Experimental Writing 2018.
New-Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set (Tano), edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani (Apr. 10, box set, $32.95) continues the African Poetry Book Fund project to identify the best poetry by African poets working today and ensure their publication. This 12-piece, limited-edition box set features the work of 11 new poets, including the chapbooks, Dancing Tongue by Omotara James and The Origin of Butterflies by Romeo Oriogun.
DiVida by Monica A. Hand (April 1, $15.95). Marilyn Nelson says, "“DiVida: divided? DiVida: of life? The imaginary character who carries the name and sings her life is both DiVida and Sapphire, who sometimes replies to her musings, as one voice speaking for a universe of black women. Like syncopated masks, the voices of Hand’s book offer a new sense of double-consciousness. Her untimely death at the zenith of her career lends the last few poems, which anticipate death, a special fullness and poignancy."
Like Kansas by Simone Savannah. Savannah is from Columbus, Ohio. She is currently a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Kansas developing her interests in sexuality, Modern and Contemporary women’s poetry, and African American literature. She served as the Assistant Poetry Editor of Beecher’s 3. Her work has appeared in Blackberry: A Magazine.
Past Lives, Future Bodies by Kristin Chang (Fall). Chang says, "wanted to explore my proximity to violence and whiteness and historical trauma, and to write towards safety in all its personal and collective forms. I tried challenging myself in these poems – stylistically, they’re more narrative than I usually write, a product of trying to honor the oral storytelling in my family."
Cenzontle by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo (April 10, $16). In this highly lyrical, imagistic debut, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo creates a nuanced narrative of life before, during, and after crossing the US/Mexico border. These poems explore the emotional fallout of immigration, the illusion of the American dream via the fallacy of the nuclear family, the latent anxieties of living in a queer brown undocumented body within a heteronormative marriage, and the ongoing search for belonging.
Nothing Is Okay by Rachel Wiley (March 6, $16) delves into queerness, feminism, fatness, dating, and race, Wiley molds these topics into a punching critique of culture and a celebration of self. A fat positive activist, Wiley's work soars and challenges the bounds of bodies and hearts, and the ways we carry them.
Mama Wata by Omotara James. James is a British-born American poet and essayist. The daughter of Nigerian and Trinidadian immigrants, she currently resides in NYC. Through the lens of intimate relationships, she investigates the dynamic associated with identity, family, civil rights, social responsibility and popular culture.
The Black Condition featuring Narcissus by jayy dodd.
Indecency by Justin Phillip Reed (May 8, $16.95) is boldly and carefully executed and perfectly ragged. In these poems, Justin Phillip Reed experiments with language to explore inequity and injustice and to critique and lament the culture of white supremacy and the dominant social order. Political and personal, tender, daring, and insightful―the author unpacks his intimacies, weaponizing poetry to take on masculinity, sexuality, exploitation, and the prison industrial complex and unmask all the failures of the structures into which society sorts us.
Not Here by Hieu Minh Nguyen (April 10, $16.95) is a flight plan for escape and a map for navigating home; a queer Vietnamese American body in confrontation with whiteness, trauma, family, and nostalgia; and a big beating heart of a book. Nguyen’s poems ache with loneliness and desire and the giddy terrors of allowing yourself to hope for love, and revel in moments of connection achieved.
They Named Her Goddess (we named her girl) by Uma Dwivedi (Summer, $7). Dwivedi's work has appeared recently in Right Hand Pointing, Third Wednesday, Mouth Dreams: Winter Tangerine Review, and Astral Projections: The Starstuff Collective;. They are also a poetry editor for Persephone's Daughters and a poetry reader for Winter Tangerine.
Red//Jild//Prayer by Hazem Fahmy (March, AWP, $10 at AWP, $12 online) is a meditation on the trauma and triumph of diaspora; an interrogation of the various ways through which we make sense of our separation from the homeland. Sandwiched between dictatorship at home, and relentless racism here, the Egyptian American cannot seem to escape political violence. Red//Jild//Prayer surveys these various forms of violence in the hopes of coming towards some kind of breathing room; a space where we can name what has been to us and our home(s).
Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Wild Is the Wind by Carl Phillips (January 23, $23). Phillips reflects on love as depicted in the jazz standard for which the book is named—love at once restless, reckless, and yet desired for its potential to bring stability. In the process, he pitches estrangement against communion, examines the past as history versus the past as memory, and reflects on the past’s capacity both to teach and to mislead us—also to make us hesitate in the face of love, given the loss and damage that are, often enough, love’s fallout.
Four Way Books
Forgive the Body This Failure by Blas Falconer (March). Falconer is the author of two poetry collections, The Foundling Wheel and A Question of Gravity and Light, and a coeditor of two essay collections, The Other Latin@: Writing Against a Singular Identity and Mentor and Muse: Essays from Poets to Poets. His awards include an NEA Fellowship, the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange, and a Tennessee Individual Artist Grant, and his poems have appeared in various literary journals, including Poetry, Poetry Northwest, and Prairie Schooner. He is the poetry editor for The Los Angeles Review and teaches in the low-residency MFA at Murray State University.
Black Queer Hoe by Britteney Black Rose Kapri (Fall). Kapri is a teaching artist, writer, performance poet and playwright based out of Chicago. A former ensemble member and teaching artist for the Hip Hop Theater nonprofit Kuumba Lynx. Currently she is an alumna turned Teaching Artist Fellow at Young Chicago Authors. She is a staff member and writer for Black Nerd Problems. Her first chapbook titled “Winona and Winthrop” was published in June of 2014 through New School Poetics.
Don't Let Them See Me Like This by Jasmine Gibson (July 3, $16.95). Gibson explores myriad intersectional identities in relation to The State, disease, love, sex, failure, and triumph. Speaking to those who feel disillusioned by both radical and banal spaces and inspired/informed by moments of political crisis: Hurricane Katrina, The Jena Six, the extrajudicial executions of Black people, and the periods of insurgency that erupted in response, this book acts as a synthesis of political life and poetic form.
Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated fo Queer Poets of Color (April 3, $16.95), edited by Christopher Soto, is a survey of poetry by queer poets of color throughout U.S. history, including literary legends such as Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, June Jordan, Ai, and Pat Parker alongside contemporaries such as Natalie Diaz, Ocean Vuong, Danez Smith, Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, Robin Coste Lewis, Joy Harjo, Richard Blanco, Erika L. Sanchez, Jericho Brown, Carl Phillips, Tommy Pico, Eduardo C. Corral, Chen Chen, and more.
If They Come For Us by Fatimah Asghar (June 26, $16) nakedly captures the experiences of being a young Pakistani Muslim woman in America by braiding together personal and marginalized people's histories. After being orphaned as a young girl, Asghar grapples with coming-of-age as a woman without the guidance of a mother, questions of sexuality and race, and navigating a world that put a target on her back.
Self-portrait as the space between us by Trace DePass. DePass is the editor of Scholastic's Best Teen Writing of 2017. He served as the 2016 Teen Poet Laureate for the Borough of Queens. His work has been featured on BET Next Level, Billboard, Blavity, NPR's The Takeaway, and also resides within literary homes - Entropy Magazine, Split This Rock!, The Other Side of Violet, Best Teen Writing of 2015, & the Voice of The East Coast Anthology.
Revolving Door Arts
Lighthouse by Kai Wright is a collection of love poems to Chicago written from the “deepest sorrow for the bodies slain in my city.” Her work reflects the difficult relationship of loving a city and accepting one’s self in the complexities of the surrounding world.
The Seattle Review
Reasons for Smoking by Xandria Phillips ($12) is the third chapbook in the semiannual Seattle Review chapbook contest series, chosen by our 2016 judge Claudia Rankine, and published by Paper Hammer in Seattle, Washington. It will be available for purchase, while supplies last, though our website and in a few select bookstores, including Open Books: A Poem Emporium. Here is what Rankine says about the chapbook: "'Let’s deflate something that we can all agree is / monstrous, and take its air inside us,' writes Xandria Phillips in 'Elegy for the Living and Breathing.' A decolonization of space and self is made physical in this stunning, textured, and ambitious collection of poems. This work positions snapshots of contemporary black, queer selfhood against an embodied historical backdrop in order to trace the tolls and infringements of white dominant structures and embedded historical violence upon the body. When I read it, I am reminded of the ways in which language can be repurposed as an amplification device against narratives that seek to erase, bury, and diminish. The poems in Reasons for Smoking articulate how living, touching, noticing, speaking, and remembering are necessary and subversive acts."
Black Girl Sick: Tales from the Library Burned by Goddess X. Goddess X was a 2016 National Poetry Slam Semi-fnalist and a 2016 capturing fire international slam finalist. goddess has been featured in many online magazines such as Nepantla literary journal, Wusgood, Ascend, and others. Heir first book of poetry blk grl sick, was released in January of 2017. Shey like girls, avatar the last airbender and black owned vegan joints. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram and Patreon being all black and trans and girl and sick.
The Distractions of Living by Randi M. Romo. Romo is a visual artist and writer. In her teens, she began writing and making art as a means to survive the intense homophobia she endured as a young lesbian. She has worked in a variety of fields, including the actual fields. The last 30 years she has worked for social justice. Romo co-founded CAR, an LGBTQ rights organization based in Little Rock that she led for 11 years. Today she is a cheesemonger/ bartender. She jokes that at age 60 she is living life backwards; the struggling artist/writer tending bar in order to create.
Marianna's Beauty Salon by Bushra Rehman. Rehman's first novel Corona, a dark comedy about being South Asian in the United States, was included in Poets & Writers Best Debut Fiction issue of 2013, was a LAMBDA finalist for 2014, and featured in the LA Review of Books among a new wave of radical South Asian American Literature. Rehman co-edited the anthology Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism which was included in Ms. Magazine’s 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time.
Touched by Luther Hughes (January 30, $12). Danez Smith says, "I trust Luther Hughes with the body. In Touched, Hughes is careful with it, he handles the body as deliberate and tender as one would a poem. The bodies here, be they black, queer, animal, living, or recovering, are given an authority only possible in poems, and only executed right in the handles of a capable poem. Hughes is more than capable though."
Phantom Tongue by Steven Sanchez was selected by Mark Doty as the winner of Marsh Hawk Press’ Rochelle Ratner Memorial Award. A recipient of fellowships from CantoMundo and the Lambda Literary Foundation, he is the author of two chapbooks: To My Body (Glass Poetry Press, 2016) and Photographs of Our Shadows (Agape Editions, 2017). He is the poetry editor of Word Riot and his poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Nimrod, Crab Creek Review, Tahoma Literary Review, and The Cossack Review, among other journals.
Junk by Tommy Pico (May 8, $15.95) is a breakup poem in couplets: ice floe and hot lava, a tribute to Janet Jackson and nacho cheese. In the static that follows the loss of a job or an apartment or a boyfriend, what can you grab onto for orientation? The narrator wonders what happens to the sense of self when the illusion of security has been stripped away. And for an indigenous person, how do these lost markers of identity echo larger cultural losses and erasures in a changing political landscape?
The Republic of Mercy by Sharon Wang. Cassandra Cleghorn and Jeffrey Levine says, "This is a startling, ambitious debut. In Sharon Wang’s thrilling and corporeal geometry, touch dominates, if often in its “aftermarks”: singes, whiffs, folds of fabric, echoing gestures between bodies. A sureness of craft and extraordinary control of tone enable Wang to move through a range of lyric personae, always believable, never reducible, by turns modest (“here move slowly we are not practiced”), speculative, heart-broken, ecstatic, even giddy with vaulting dreams (“But who wouldn’t want to be the sun”).
Univ. of Pittsburgh
Refuse by Julian Randall (Fall). Randall is a Living Queer Black poet from Chicago. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he has received fellowships from Callaloo, BOAAT and the Watering Hole and was the 2015 National College Slam (CUPSI) Best Poet. Julian is the curator of Winter Tangerine Review’s Lineage of Mirrors and a poetry editor for Freezeray Magazine. He is also a co-founder of the Afrolatinx poetry collective Piel Cafe. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Nepantla, Rattle, Ninth Letter, Vinyl, Prairie Schooner and The Adroit Journal among others. He is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Mississippi.
Sexting the Dead by Joanna C. Valente & Monica Lewis (November).
Inquisition by Kazim Ali (March 6, $15.95). Queer, Muslim, American, Ali has always navigated complex intersections and interstices on order to make a life. In this scintillating mixture of lyrics, narrative, fragments, prose poem and spoken word, he answers long standing questions about the role of the poet or artist in times of political or social upheaval, although he answers under duress—an inquisition is dangerous, after all. Ali engages history, politics, and the dangerous regions of the uncharted heart in this visceral new collection.
We Play a Game by Duy Doan (March 20, $45). Carl Phillips says, "For game here can mean as well the strategies for weathering those parts of society that threaten identity itself, at the level of gender (in all its fluidity), or race, of family as history and tradition — of language, too, and our expectations for it. Wide-ranging in subject, Doan’s poems include boxing, tongue twisters, hedgehogs, Billy Holiday, soccer and, hardly least of all, a Vietnamese heritage that butts up against an American upbringing in ways at once comic, estranging, off-kiltering."
(Last updated 12/12/2017)