Category Archives: Poetry

A Bound Woman is a Dangerous Thing

A Bound Woman is a Dangerous Thing

Bloomsbury
Hardcover
192 pages • $25.00
ISBN: 9781635572612
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The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland

DaMaris B. Hill

“DaMaris B. Hill writes the poetry of the bound black woman across the ages in this haunting, powerful collection. What you will read here is not just poetry, though. This book offers an education. This book bears witness. This book is a reckoning.”

—Roxane Gay

From Harriet Tubman to Assata Shakur, Ida B. Wells to Sandra Bland and Black Lives Matter, black women freedom fighters have braved violence, scorn, despair, and isolation in order to lodge their protests. For black American women, the experience of being bound has taken many forms: from the bondage of slavery to the Reconstruction-era criminalization of women; from the brutal constraints of Jim Crow to our own era’s prison industrial complex, where between 1980 and 2014, the number of incarcerated women increased by 700%.* For those women who lived and died resisting the dehumanization of confinement—physical, social, intellectual—the threat of being bound was real, constant, and lethal. In this narrative-in-verse, Hill presents bitter, unflinching history that artfully captures the personas of these captivating, bound yet unbridled African-American women. Hill’s passionate odes to Zora Neale Hurston, Lucille Clifton, Fannie Lou Hamer, Grace Jones, Eartha Kitt, and others also celebrate the modern-day inheritors of their load and light, binding history, author, and reader in an essential legacy of struggle.
* (The Sentencing Project)

Damaris Hill

© Tony Rance

DaMaris B. Hill is assistant professor of Creative Writing and African American and Africana studies at the University of Kentucky. Her previous works are The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the American Heartland, and a collection of poetry, \Vi-ze-bel\\Teks-chers\. She has two Ph.D.s, one in English and one in women and gender studies. A former service member of the United States Air Force, she lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

Citizen

Citizen

Graywolf Press
Paperback
160 pages • $20.00
ISBN: 9781555976903
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An American Lyric

Claudia Rankine

Winner of the Jackson Poetry Prize
Winner of the PEN Open Book Award
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
Finalist for the 2014 National Book Award in Poetry 

“Rankine defies genre and writes honestly and relentlessly about being black in modern America. This book is necessary in every sense of the word.”

—Roxane Gay, Esquire

Claudia Rankine’s new book—“a precise, complex, clear-eyed, and masterful work of art” (Guernica)—recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV—everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named “post-race” society.

© John Lucas

© John Lucas

Claudia Rankine is the author of four previous books, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. She currently teaches at Pomona College.

Citizen has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Assumption College (MA); Art Institute of Chicago (IL); Bard College (NY); Brandeis University (MA); College of the Canyons (CA); Colorado College; Eckerd College (FL); Grand Valley State University (MI); Hobart and William Smith Colleges (NY); Howard University (DC); Keene State College (NH); LaGrange College (GA); Millsaps College (MS); Mount Holyoke College (MA); New York University Tisch School of the Arts; Northern Michigan University; Old Dominion University (VA); Pomona College (CA); Ramapo College (NJ); Rhodes College (TN); St. Cloud State University (MN); SUNY Cortland; University of Arizona, Tucson Honors College; University of Kansas; University of La Verne (CA); University of Nebraska Lincoln; Utica College (NY); Washington College (MD); Washington University in St. Louis (MO); Wesleyan University (CT)

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Deaf Republic

Deaf Republic

Graywolf Press
Paperback
80 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 9781555978310
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Poems

Ilya Kaminsky

Deaf Republic is a stunning and prescient drama, like the best books of Márquez and Kundera. Not many American poets, not many poets anywhere are engaged in this kind of work. I think that Deaf Republic will be a splendid, groundbreaking moment. Reading this book, my overwhelming sense is admiration and pleasure.”

—Kwame Dawes

Deaf Republic opens in a time of political unrest in an occupied territory. Though it is uncertain where we are or when, in what country or during what conflict, we recognize that it could be Russia, or more likely the United States. When soldiers breaking up a protest kill a deaf boy, Petya, the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear—in that moment, all have gone deaf. Inside this literal and metaphorical silence, their dissent becomes coordinated by sign language. The story then follows the private lives of townspeople encircled by public violence, including the brash Momma Galya, instigating the insurgency from her puppet theater, and Alfonso and Sonya, a newly married couple expecting their child. These poems link together into a cohesive narrative that unfolds episodically, like a play. Drawing from Ilya Kaminsky’s own experience growing up deaf in the former Soviet Union, Deaf Republic confronts our time’s vicious atrocities and our collective silence in the face of them. This terrifying, beautiful, and supremely original book could have only been written by Ilya Kaminsky, who with this long-awaited new work affirms his place as one of our most dazzling and important literary voices.

Ilya Kaminsky

© Cybele Knowles

Ilya Kaminsky was born in the former Soviet Union and is now an American citizen. He is the author of a previous poetry collection, the award-winning Dancing in Odessa, and co-editor of The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry. He was a 2014 finalist for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and has received numerous honors, including a Whiting Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages.