As Black History Month comes to a close, this is your friendly reminder to read the work of Black authors year-round! Finish February or start March by snagging one of our recent or forthcoming titles below, recommended by BOA's fantastic spring 2022 intern staff!
Alien Stories is a dynamic interplay between the two meanings of the word alien: a person from a foreign country or a being from a foreign planet. Each story confronts some aspect of the “alien” experience—reception, culture shock, identity, stereotypes—from a diverse set of individual and historical perspectives. Osondu’s work deals with the abnormal, the otherworldly, and yet is defined by a distinct humanness that remains constant throughout each story. Narratives of immigration are deftly woven between encounters with the extraterrestrial, creating an engaging and subtle social commentary that everyone, regardless of immigration status, can relate to.
Derrick Austin’s poetry is alchemy; Tenderness is unafraid to embrace and merge the metaphysical and the historical, witchcraft and the Bible, opulent lyrics with scathing American commentary. Austin’s verse submerges the reader into unique moments–a trip to a lover’s secret spot, cocktails with friends in Son Jarocho, digging tunnels in the snow with a childhood friend–but never forgets to parallel the beauty of the world with the dangers of life as a queer Black American. Austin’s poetry offers insight into all the vulnerabilities of being human, reminding the reader not only of their tenderness, but also of the inherent strength of their existence.
Renia White’s poetry is not afraid to ask the reader to fill in the blanks in the conversations they have, the memories they carry, and the society they exist within. White’s language is rich in dialect and social commentary, searching to find meaning within both the personal experience and the collective reality. With a unique use of structure and space, Casual Conversation brings attention to the ways in which thought flows through the mind, the ways in which we look to be understood, and above all, the ways we do-–and don’t—communicate.
An astounding testament of love, Night Angler addresses the nature of fatherhood after a troubled past. Warm and honest, these poems reflect on what can be learned from the experiences we have had and also evoke a feeling of appreciation for new life. Davis opens the reader up to the tender optimism of raising a young family, using the lessons of the past to inspire a secure future.
An intense journey of self reflection, A Season In Hell With Rimbaud presents a landscape rife with the harsh realities of familial trauma, using the extended metaphor of Hell to describe a broken relationship between brothers. The imagery pushes the reader into the brutal and remarkable dream sequence that Pearson creates. This collection of poems is a raw devotion of forgiveness, ingrained with admirable characters who risk themselves for their family even at an emotional crossroads.
How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton, edited by Aracelis Girmay, is a selection of poetry pulling from Clifton’s vast body of work including ten previously uncollected poems. Centering around the experience of Black womanhood, this collection spans public and political topics such as violence against Black lives in America, alongside quieter, more personal experiences such as motherhood and reckoning with childhood abuse. Clifton writes on these subjects beautifully, slanting them through the use of multiple perspectives. This allows the reader to understand not only how she processes the world around her, but how she feels that others view her in return.
In “We Do Not Know Very Much About Lucille’s Inner Life,” Clifton acknowledges that onlookers berate her for believing in “wonder and / astonishment” despite all the heavy subject matter that she observes in the world around her and ultimately documents in her poetry. This self-reflective poem highlights Clifton’s ability to bring sorrow and hope together in the same breath, recognizing that survival often requires an acceptance of the duality of selfhood.
Amelia A. is a Spring '22 intern at BOA. She will be graduating from Monroe Community College with an associate degree in Creative Writing this spring, and plans to transfer to a 4-year college to continue developing her writing. On the weekends, she spends her time reading, crocheting, and painting pet portraits on commission.
Theresa VanWormer is a Spring ’22 intern at BOA. She is in her junior year at St. John Fisher College, studying English for Editing and Publishing, as well as minoring in Marketing and Communication.
Natalie Eckl is a Spring '22 intern at BOA. She recently graduated from George Washington University with a degree in English and Creative Writing.
Brandon Clune is a Spring "22 intern at BOA. He will be graduating from Monroe Community College with an associate degree in Creative Writing, and plans to transition to a 4- year college to pursue his writing.