2019 Forthcoming Poetry Books by Queer People of Color
Full-lengths and chapbooks are included in this list
Hoodwitch by Faylita Hicks (Oct. 15, price TBD). Hicks is a Black, queer writer, mobile photographer, performance and Hip-Hop artist from San Marcos, TX. She was 2009 Grand Slam Champion of the Austin Poetry Slam and member of the 2007 and 2008 Neo Soul Poetry Slam teams. Her manuscript was a finalist in the 2016 Write Bloody Book contest and 2012 Button Poetry Chapbook contest. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Kweli Journal, Ink & Nebula, Yes Poetry, AIPF Di-verse-city Anthology and others. In 2015, she released her first Hip Hop EP, Collision City. She is the founder and Creative Director of Arrondi Creative Productions and an artist on the roster for Hip-Hop collective Grid Squid Entertainment. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada College’s Low Residency program and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Texas State University in San Marcos, TX.
turn around, BRXGHT XYXS by Rosebud Ben-Oni (Summer, $16). J. Michael Martinez writes: turn around, BRXGHT XYXS saunters into the reader’s mind like a super sly and seductive voice, as ravenous as it is many: a younger-tagging self—Matarose—who “never comes home,” declaring her love to some “evil woman of xanadu,” and another, who leaves her with only a “Whistling/ Like a fist of the bank in wet/ Season lying through her teeth.” Refracted through the lenses of Latinidad, lost love, and those “drug restaurants/ that serve only cobra lilies/ with a side of blackbirds/who wield spiked hammers,” turn around, BRXGHT XYXS takes its delight in the chase and not the catch, what is “all the dark side moonwalking after” an uncatchable “you.” turn around, BRXGHT XYXS will seduce you silly, purring lyrical excesses while Matarose “wears her sunglasses at night/ where exploding stars fall/ shock breakout bright.”
Alice James Books
Soft Science by Franny Choi (April, $16.95). A. Van Jordan writes: Soft Science offers an exceptional exploration both of all that comprises the intimate and of all that consumes the communal in our lives. Whether tracking the adventures of the ‘cyborg’ or eavesdropping on conversations between sisters, it’s all the same world. These striking poems ring through with a singular voice, creating a society that helps us understand our own. When you open a book of poems, ‘isn’t that what you came to see?’ Choi builds a world not only of striking beauty and lucid politics, but also, most importantly, with love.
Arsenal Pulp Press
Tonguebreaker by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (Apr. 9, $15.95) is about surviving the unsurvivable: living through hate crimes, the suicides of queer kin, and the rise of fascism while falling in love and walking through your beloved's neighbourhood in Queens. Building on her groundbreaking work in Bodymap, Tonguebreaker is an unmitigated force of disabled queer-of-colour nature, narrating disabled femme-of-colour moments on the pulloff of the 80 in West Oakland, the street, and the bed. Tonguebreaker dreams unafraid femme futures where we live -- a ritual for our collective continued survival.
How to Love a Country by Richard Blanco (Mar. 26, $20) invites a conversation with all Americans. Through an oracular yet intimate and accessible voice, he addresses the complexities and contradictions of our nationhood and the unresolved sociopolitical matters that affect us all. The poems form a mosaic of seemingly varied topics: the Pulse Nightclub massacre; an unexpected encounter on a visit to Cuba; the forced exile of 8,500 Navajos in 1868; a lynching in Alabama; the arrival of a young Chinese woman at Angel Island in 1938; the incarceration of a gifted writer; and the poet’s abiding love for his partner, who he is finally allowed to wed as a gay man. But despite each poem’s unique concern or occasion, all are fundamentally struggling with the overwhelming question of how to love this country.
while they sleep (under the bed is another country) by Raquel Salas Rivera (Feb., $16) refuses to sweep up the shards of Hurricane María’s aftermath. Written in dialogic fragments and intersped with prose poems reflecting on the lasting impact of colonial trauma, it is arranged around the two different discourses. The bed on which America sleeps, and which America has made, is built on the fear that the nations it has oppressed will rise up against it, a monstrous shadow in a child’s nightmare. Written in English, while they sleep points to a imperialist American identity: the dormant body of the text. Answering in Spanish, under the bed is another country is the footnote, the monster under the bed, the colony: Puerto Rico.
Documents by Jan-Henry Gray (Apr. 16, $17). Rooted in the experience of living in America as a queer undocumented Filipino, Documents maps the byzantine journey toward citizenship through legal records and fragmented recollections. In poems that repurpose the forms and procedures central to an immigrant’s experiences—birth certificates, identification cards, letters, and interviews—Jan-Henry Gray reveals the narrative limits of legal documentation while simultaneously embracing the intersections of identity, desire, heritage, love, and a new imagining of freedom.
War/Torn by Hasan Namir (Apr. 10, $18) is a brazen and lyrical interrogation of religion and masculinity—the performance and sense of belonging they delineate and draw together. Namir summons prayer, violence, and the sensuality of love, revisiting tenets of Islam and dictates of war to break the barriers between the profane and the sacred.
i shimmer sometimes, too by Porsha O. (release date TBD, $16). Olayiwola is the 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and 2015 National Poetry Slam Champion. Black, poet, queer-dyke, hip-hop feminist, womanist: Porsha is a native of Chicago who now resides in Boston where she organizes, writes and teaches. Porsha co-founded The House Slam, Boston’s first poetry slam venue and coaches their award winning poetry slam team. In 2018, Porsha was named by GK100 as one of Boston’s Most Influential People of Color. She is the Artistic Director at MassLEAP, a literary non-profit organization in Massachusetts serving youth artists.
Civil Coping Mechanisms
The Other House by Rocío Carlos (Feb. 15, $15.95). Carlos is the author of Attendance (The Operating System, 2018), a poetry collaboration with Rachel McLeod Kaminer. Her poems have also appeared in Chaparral, Angel City Review, The Spiral Orb and Cultural Weekly. Most recently, her work was included in LACMA’s Pacific Standard Time exhibition: Those of This America. Her book (the other house) will be published in 2019 by Civil Coping Mechanisms. Rocío is co-publisher of the Wirecutter Collective. She was selected as a 2003 Pen Center “Emerging Voices” fellow. She is a professor at Otis College of Art and Design and at Art Center College of Design in Los Ángeles, California.
Losing Miami by Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué (Feb, price TBD). Craig Santos Perez writes: This innovative book captures the author’s reflections on growing up in Miami as a child of Cuban exiles, and then leaving as an adult who worries about the precarious future of the coastal city. Throughout, the bilingual verse and prose poems imagine different forms of loss (migration, hurricanes, environmental destruction), as well as the hopeful possibilities of re-growth (family, mangroves, dreams). Yet Losing Miami does not function as a return flight home; instead, it is a home itself, a nest of words placed on a higher branch to keep ‘the murmurs of the exile’ safe from the rising waters.
Copper Canyon Press
The Tradition by Jericho Brown (Apr. 2, $17) details the normalization of evil and its history at the intersection of the past and the personal. Brown’s poetic concerns are both broad and intimate, and at their very core a distillation of the incredibly human: What is safety? Who is this nation? Where does freedom truly lie? Brown makes mythical pastorals to question the terrors to which we’ve become accustomed, and to celebrate how we survive. Poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma are propelled into stunning clarity by Brown’s mastery, and his invention of the duplex―a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues―is testament to his formal skill. The Tradition is a cutting and necessary collection, relentless in its quest for survival while revelling in a celebration of contradiction.
Library of Small Catastrophes by Alison C. Rollins (Mar. 29, $16) interrogates the body and nation as storehouses of countless tragedies. Drawing from Jorge Luis Borges’ fascination with the library, Rollins uses the concept of the archive to offer a lyric history of the ways in which we process loss. “Memory is about the future, not the past,” she writes, and rather than shying away from the anger, anxiety, and mourning of her narrators, Rollins’ poetry seeks to challenge the status quo, engaging in a diverse, boundary-defying dialogue with an ever-present reminder of the ways race, sexuality, spirituality, violence, and American culture collide.
The Illusion of Intimacy: On Poetry by Randall Mann (Mar. 27, $18) brings Randall Mann’s characteristic wit, fearlessness, and attention to language, to twenty years of critical works, including reviews of early books by Laura Kasischke and Vijay Seshadri; essays on Shame, Money, and Forgetting; appreciations of Thom Gunn and John Ashbery; and two interviews. This incisive collection—a combination of criticism, close reading, autobiography, exuberance, and occasional irritation—offers a look into the mind of one of America’s finest formalists, revealing how the compression and vulnerability of the lyric draws us closer to, while asking us to resist, the limitations, freedoms, and intimacies of poetry.
Four Way Books
The Book of Ruin by Rigoberto González (Mar. 4, $15.95). González is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Unpeopled Eden, which won the Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets. His ten books of prose include two bilingual children's books, the three young adult novels in the Mariposa Club series, the novel Crossing Vines, the story collection Men Without Bliss, and three books of nonfiction, including Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa, which received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. He also edited Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing and Alurista's new and selected volume Xicano Duende: A Select Anthology. The recipient of Guggenheim, NEA and USA Rolón fellowships, a NYFA grant in poetry, the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, The Poetry Center Book Award, and the Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award, he is contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine and writes a monthly column for NBC-Latino online. Currently, he is professor of English at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey, and the inaugural Stan Rubin Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the Rainier Writing Workshop. In 2015, he received The Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Publishing Triangle. As of 2016, he serves as critic-at-large with the L.A. Times and sits on the Board of Trustees of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP).
Glass Poetry Press
Praise to Lesser Gods of Love by Noor Ibn Najam (Jan. $8.50). Tiana Clark writes: God-drenched and supple, these poems are suffused with brilliant light and longing. Revisiting and resisting metaphor with lush love, rough love, self-love, family love, "grandmothers watching from the headboard" love — all overwhelming with delight and sharp syntax. Noor Ibn Najam pierces the meat of language with dexterity of form and precision, with the body and all of its shards, bark, and resonant magic. Terrance Hayes writes, "I'll eat you to live: that's poetry," and that urgent need for lyric survival as sustenance is ripping at the scars inside this remarkable collection, which is "so holy & full god gave it no choice but to burst."
Be Recorder by Carmen Giménez Smith (Aug. 6, $16) offers readers a blazing way forward into an as yet unmade world. The many times and tongues in these poems investigate the precariousness of personhood in lines that excoriate and sanctify. Carmen Giménez Smith turns the increasingly pressing urge to cry out into a dream of rebellion—against compromise, against inertia, against self-delusion, and against the ways the media dream up our complacency in an America that depends on it. This reckoning with self and nation demonstrates that who and where we are is as conditional as the fact of our compliance: “Miss America from sea to shining sea / the huddled masses have a question / there is one of you and all of us.” Be Recorder is unrepentant and unstoppable, and affirms Giménez Smith as one of our time’s most vital and vivacious poets.
Heed the Hollow by Malcolm Tariq (Nov. 5, price TBD). Tariq is a Cave Canem Fellow from Savannah, Georgia and the author of Extended Play, winner of the 2017 Gertrude Press Poetry Chapbook Contest. He was a 2016-2017 playwriting apprentice at Horizon Theatre Company and is the recipient of a 2018 Ethel Woolson Lab from Working Title Playwrights. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in CURA, Vinyl, HEArt Online, Nepantla, Tinderbox, Blueshift Journal, and The Iowa Review. A graduate of Emory University, Malcolm has a PhD in English from the University of Michigan.
Build Yourself a Boat by Camonghne Felix (Apr. 2, $16). Felix is a poet, political strategist, media junkie, and cultural worker. She received an MA in arts politics from NYU, an MFA from Bard College, and has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, and Poets House. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she is the author of the chapbook Yolk and was listed by Black Youth Project as a “Black Girl from the Future You Should Know.”
monster house by Mia S. Willis (summer, price TBD). Willis is a 23-year-old African American artist and adventurer from Charlotte, North Carolina. Mia is a recipient of the 2018 Foothill Editors’ Prize for their poem “hecatomb,” which was also nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Their work appears or is forthcoming in WORDPEACE, Peculiar: a Queer Poetry Journal, Foothill: a Journal of Poetry, Button Poetry and Slamfind. In 2018, Mia ranked fourth out of 96 femme poets at the Women of the World Poetry Slam, fifth out of 150 poets at the Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam, and won the Capturing Fire Slam. They were also a member of Tender Bitch, the winning poetry performance team at the 2018 Feminine Empowerment Movement Slam Tournament.
Kelsey Street Press
EXTRATRANSMISSION by Andrea Abi-Karam (release date TBD, $15). Etel Adnan writes: As the war machine creates new casualties and new ways to produce them, Andrea Abi-Karam creates a new language and a new form to express their desire to shake the American public out of its lethargy. They bring their generosity of heart mixed to a real courage, as they do the opposite of what we do: Andrea "goes into it", as we say, they look in the face the incredible suffering that weapons which replaced rain shower on the people of the world. Pain is singular, it reaches its targets one at a time, and they seem to follow every soldier hurt as well as every individual they themselves killed or maimed. In these days of indifference to naked reality, Andrea dares be a writer of humanism, they dare to remind us that each one of us is somehow responsible for everything that is done in our name.
The Octopus Museum by Brenda Shaughnessy (Apr. 9, $23) . In these pages, we see that what was once a generalized fear for our children (car accidents, falling from a tree) is now hyper-reasonable, specific, and multiple: school shootings, nuclear attack, loss of health care, a polluted planet. As Shaughnessy conjures our potential future, she movingly (and often with humor) envisions an age where cephalopods might rule over humankind, a fate she suggests we may just deserve after destroying their oceans. These heartbreaking, terrified poems are the battle cry of a woman who is fighting for the survival of the world she loves, and a stirring exhibition of who we are as a civilization.
tsunami vs. the fukushima 50 by Lee Ann Roripaugh (Mar. 12, $16) takes a piercing, witty, and ferocious look into the heart of the disaster. Here we meet its survivors and victims, from a pearl-catcher to a mild-mannered father to a drove of mindless pink robots. And here, too, we meet Roripaugh’s unforgettable Tsunami: a force of nature, femme fatale, and “annihilatrix.” Tsunami is part hero and part supervillain—angry, loud, forcefully defending her rights as a living being in contemporary industrialized society. As humanity rebuilds in disaster’s wake, Tsunami continues to wreak her own havoc, battling humans’ self-appointed role as colonizer of Earth and its life-forms.
The Black Condition ft. Narcissus by jayy dodd (Apr., $16.95 - available at AWP) is preemptive memoir, documenting the beginning of the author’s gender transition and paralleling the inauguration of our latest Administration. These poems speak to and from fears holed up inside while contextualizing the cosmic impacts of our political landscape. Ranging from autobiographic melancholy to rigorously meditative, here is a necessary voice to process the world, predicated on unknowable desire and blossoming tragedy.
Slingshot by cyree jarelle johnson (Sep., $16.95). Johnson is a writer and librarian living in New York City. His first book of poetry SLINGSHOT will be published by Nightboat Books in 2019. He is currently an Undergraduate Creative Writing Teaching Fellow at Columbia University, where he is also a candidate for an MFA. His work has appeared recently in The New York Times and WUSSY. He has given speeches and lectures at The White House, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The University of Pennsylvania, The Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, Tufts University, and Mother Bethel AME Church, among other venues. His work has been profiled on PBS Newshour and Mashable. Cyree Jarelle has received fellowships and grants from Culture/Strike, Leeway Foundation, Astraea Foundation, Rewire.News/Disabled Writers, Columbia University, and the Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund. He is a founding member of The Harriet Tubman Collective and The Deaf Poets Society.
Hull by Xandria Phillips (Sep., $16.95). Phillips is the author of Reasons for Smoking, which one the 2016 Seattle Review chapbook contest judged by Claudia Rankine, poet, educator, and visual artist. They are the poetry editor at Honeysuckle Press and the curator of Love Letters to Spooks, a literary space for Black people. Phillips is the former Associate Poetry Editor of Winter Tangerine, and frequently advises for their live NYC workshop hosted by Poets House. They currently live and breathe in Chicago, Illinois.
henceforce: A Travel Poetic by Kamden Ishmael Hilliard (Apr. 15, $13.95) takes us on unimaginable voyages within and beyond the contours of our quotidian experience. This is not simply geographic travel, however: though Hilliard’s poems explore air travel, transcontinental locations, and even intergalactic scenes, their travel poetic asks us to move through and beyond deeply entrenched social boundaries. The movement depicted and encouraged here brings the reader into contact with figures that destabilize our notions of race, gender, and nation. Hilliard’s language, too, transgresses boundaries. For any reader who loves strange encounters with the familiar and the thrill of disorientation, these poems will prove challenging in a deeply exhilarating way, asking the reader to question the limits of their gaze, their language, their sense of place, and ultimately to reaffirm their personhood.
water/tongue by mai c. doan (Apr. 15, price TBD) conjures the visceral, the intuitive, and the felt to give voice to the gendered and intergenerational impacts of violence, colonialism and American empire. Out from silence, water/tongue crafts a constellation of voices spanning time, geography, and dimension, illuminating a pathway for both healing and resistance; for both poetry and sharpened teeth. water/tongue is as much a retelling as it is a reimagining, offering us a glimpse of the possibilities when we write both beyond and in spite of the narrative. In the end, it both does and demands: Do more than feel; Do something different than explain.
Mannequin in the Nude by Logan February (Apr., $16) documents and interrogates grief, and God. examines what it is to be on the outside, even in the family setting — the reality of having a queer identity in the African world. In this volume, eroticism and manic depression are navigated alone. Some of the poems use a mannequin as a projective tool to dissect self hood, histories, and family connections in the aftermath of a fundamental bereavement. February additionally explores religious concepts to further mythologize the self, collecting Buddhist philosophies and Yoruba proverbs and myths, and putting them adjacent to the toxic tenets of Pentecostal Christianity, which is widespread in Nigeria. In the vein of confessional poetry, the narrative takes its pride in exposing the elements which are deemed taboo and advised to be hidden away. The poems are equally fearful and raunchy, tender and defiant, morose and youthful.
Dispatch by Cameron Awkward-Rich (Fall, price TBD). A poet and critic, Awkward-Rich is the author of Sympathetic Little Monster, (Ricochet Editions, 2016) and Dispatch (Persea Books, 2019), winner of the 2018 Lexi Rudnitsky Editor's Choice Award. Cameron received his PhD from Stanford University's program in Modern Thought & Literature, and he is currently an Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Dénouement by Slandie Prinston (Mar. 7, price TBD). Prinston is a Haitian woman who immigrated to Boston at fifteen years old. After eight years of living in a skin she borrowed from the places she’d been and the people she’d met, she decided to finally wear my own skin. She decided to truly bask in herown essence, to use her voice more often and affirm her presence. Prinson’s blog Hidden Angles was created in a passionate effort to inspire women to be bold, to expose critical issues that impact and shape their lives, and to inspire others into taking impactful actions.
The Collected Poems of Esdras Parra by Jamie Berrout (Jan. 1, $20) gathers the entire body of published poetry by Esdras Parra, who was an acclaimed author in Venezuela, not just as writer of fiction, poetry, and criticism but also for her work as an editor (she co-founded the journal Imagen) and translator. In other words, her output was extraordinary, especially in light of the fact that after she transitioned during the seventies and experienced an intense backlash for being a trans woman, she continued to create innovative work, which was recognized at a national level, until she passed away in 2004. Parra's work is now out of print, and to my knowledge it hasn't been translated apart from my own efforts, so this book is also something of an archival effort - I'm doing my best to keep her writing and her memory alive for future generations of queer and trans people, especially those with roots in Latin America.
Sibling Rivalry Press
the specimen’s apology by George Abraham (Jan. 19, $17). Kaveh Akbar writes: Searing away binaries, demolishing the calcified partitions between halves—this is George Abraham’s the specimen’s apology. Boy/man, man/woman, history/present, conflict/occupation, English/Arabic, poetry/visual art—the gulf between each is breached, shrunk, erased, widened, warped. ‘I am always translating,’ Abraham tells us in one poem—and it is the wild desperate yearning of the translator, working in vain to achieve perfect fidelity to a source, that powers these poems: ‘if desire is, / as my language translates, a moon, / let this body be the satellite.
Star Map with Action Figures by Carl Phillips (Sep. 17, $12). Phillips is the author of a dozen books of poetry and two works of criticism: Wild Is the Wind (2018), Reconnaissance (2015), Silverchest (2013, nominated for the Griffin Prize), Double Shadow (2011, winner Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry and finalist for the National Book Award), and Speak Low (2009, finalist for the National Book Award). His other books include Quiver of Arrows: Selected Poems, 1986-2006, Riding Westward (2006), The Rest of Love (2004), and Rock Harbor (2002).
Looking in a Mirror by Aishwarya Javalgekar (release date and price TBD). Javalgekar (she/her) is a poet, writer and chocolate lover. Currently she is pursuing a Masters in English from Trent University, Canada. Her poetry touches upon themes of love, mental health, and her experiences as a young woman from India. Her poems have been published in poetry journals like Ink and Nebula and armarolla. She explores her interests in gender and mythology through her non-fiction writing and research.
Vivat Regina by Maz Hedgehog (Feb. 9, price TBD). Hedgehog is the British child of Nigerian immigrants whose work draws heavily on surrealism, western European mythology, and jazz and blues-inspired rhythms. Maz has previously been published in Last Bench: An Antivirus Publication, headlined That’s What She Said by For Books Sake, and will soon publish a chapbook as part of the Superbia Chapbook Series. Find Maz on Twitter, Facebook, and Patreon @MazHedgehog.
Urban Farmhouse Press
Civilian by Deonte Osayande (Jan. 23, price TBD). Osayande is a writer from Detroit, Michian. His poems and essays have been published in over a dozen publications and have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has been a member of the Detroit National Poetry Slam Team multiple times. He's currently teaching English at Wayne County Community College, and through the Inside Out Detroit Literary Arts Program.
Univ. of Queensland
The Lost Arabs by Omar Sakr (Apr. 30, $24.99 AUD). Sakr is an Arab Australian poet born and raised in Western Sydney. He is the author of These Wild Houses (2017), a collection of poetry shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe Award and the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry. Omar’s poems have been published in English, Arabic, and Spanish, featuring most recently or forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, The Margins, Tinderbox, Wildness, Peril, Circulo de Poesía, Overland, Meanjin, and Antic, among others. He has also been anthologised in Best Australian Poems 2016, and in Contemporary Australian Poetry.
Vegetarian Alcoholic Press
heart the size of a loosening fist by Orooj-e-Zafar (Apr., price TBD). Orooj-e-Zafar fancies herself a spoken word poet, certified overthinker, and is still acclimatizing to being seen. Most recently, she won the 2nd Annual Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize and was a runner-up of the Pakistan Poetry Slam 2016. She likes her poetry with tea and writes too many self-addressed poem-letters in hopes of salvaging her relationship with herself. She thinks she’s getting there but until then, she allows herself quiet mornings in Bani Gala with Troye Sivan, Perfume Genius and not enough time to read.
Gumbo Ya Ya by Aurielle Marie (Sep. 20, price TBD). Marie is a Black, Atlanta-born, Queer hip-hop scholar and a cultural worker. Through her work as a poet and an activist, she explores the uses of intimacy and ritual in the practice of Black resistance. Aurielle is a 2017 Roddenberry Fellowship Finalist, a Voices of Our Nation Fellow-Alum, a 2016 Kopkind Fellow, and a current Queer Emerging Artist-In-Residence at Destiny Art Center. Both her activism and artistry ground themselves in the afro-indigenous legacy of storytelling in the Deep South. She was chosen by Safiya Sinclair as the 2017 Poetry Prize Winner for Blue Mesa Review. She was and has been featured as a social-political pundit on CNN. Her essays and poems have been published in Blue Mesa Review, Selfish Magazine, in Scalawag, on For Harriett, ESSENCE Mag, Allure, NBC Blk, and Huffington Post. Her collection, Gumbo Ya Ya, won the Write Bloody Poetry Prize. Her work has been featured on a global host of stages, most importantly in her grandmother's kitchen.
The Year of Blue Water by Yanyi (Mar. 26., $45 - hardcover, $20 - paperback) constitutes an artifact of a groundbreaking and original author whose work reflects a long journey self-guided through tarot, therapy, and the arts. Foregrounding the power of friendship, Yanyi’s poems converse with friends as much as with artists both living and dead, from Agnes Martin to Maggie Nelson to Robin Coste Lewis. This instructive collection gives voice to the multifaceted humanity within all of us and inspires attention, clarity, and hope through art-making and community.
The Porch (As Sanctuary) by Jae Nichelle (July, price TBD). Nichelle is a young poet and spoken word artist currently residing in Atlanta. She has been told that her poetry persona comes off as a mix of eccentric and mysterious, but in real life she is your lovable, awkward Black girl who is thinking about where her next sweet potato will come from. Jae started writing because her notebook was the only thing that would listen to her, and she continues to write to validate everyone who has ever felt the same. A recent graduate of Tulane University, she was a member of the 2017 Team Slam New Orleans and the captain and founder of Tulane University’s Slam Poetry team: Rhyme Verses Rhythm which placed seventh at the 2018 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. She placed fourth at the 2017 Texas Grand Slam poetry slam, from which her work received national recognition, and first at the 2017 Women on the Bayou slam. Her written poetry has been featured in Vinyl, Blue Agave Literary Magazine, Freezeray Poetry, The Tulane Review, and Solstice Literary Magazine.
*All the poets listed gave permission to be this list