Publishers Weekly recently included Aracelis Girmay’s The Black Maria and Derrick Austin’s Trouble the Water in its Spring 2016 Announcements, placing The Black Maria in the #1 spot on its Poetry Top 10 list!
Taking its name from the moon’s dark plains, misidentified as seas by early astronomers, The Black Maria investigates African diasporic histories, the consequences of racism within American culture, and the question of human identity. Central to this project is a desire to recognize the lives of Eritrean refugees who have been made invisible by years of immigration crisis, refugee status, exile, and resulting statelessness. The recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award for Poetry, Girmay’s newest collection elegizes and celebrates life, while wrestling with the notion of seeing beyond: seeing violence, seeing grace, and seeing each other better.
Rich in religious and artistic imagery, Trouble the Water is an intriguing exploration of race, sexuality, and identity, particularly where selfhood is in flux. These intimate, sensual poems interweave pop culture and history—moving from the Bible through several artistic eras—to interrogate what it means to be, as Austin says, “fully human as a queer, black body” in 21st-century America.
Click here for the entire PW Spring 2016 Announcements list, "Poetry: An Ocean of Wisdom."
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