"This work is unlike any other, in its range of rich, conjuring imagery and its dexterity, its smart voice. Carroll-Hackett doesn’t spare us—but doesn’t save us—she draws a blueprint of power and class with her unflinching pivot: matter-of-fact and tender." —Jan Beatty

Posts tagged ‘Cave Canem’

Monday Must Read! Lauren K. Alleyne: Difficult Fruit

What a beautiful read this week!

Lauren-Alleyne-2Lauren K. Alleyne is the author of Difficult Fruit (Peepal Tree Press, 2014). She holds an MFA in Poetry and a graduate certificate in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Cornell University, and an MA in English and Creative Writing from Iowa State University. Alleyne’s fiction, non-fiction, interviews, and poetry have been widely published in journals and anthologies such as Women’s Studies Quarterly, Guernica, The Caribbean Writer, Black Arts Quarterly, The Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gathering Ground, and Growing Up Girl, among others. Her work has earned several honors and awards, most recently the Picador Guest Professorship in Literature at the University of Leipzig, Germany, a 2014 Iowa Arts Council Fellowship, and first place in the 2016 Split This Rock Poetry Contest. Alleyne is a Cave Canem graduate, and is originally from Trinidad and Tobago. She currently works at James Madison University as Assistant Director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center and an Associate Professor of English.

Buy Lauren’s Beautiful Book Here!

Praise for Difficult Fruit

Lauren Alleyne’s voice is a revelatory and formidable fusion of irrepressible music and uncompromising craft. Like snippets of cinema, these poems arrest the senses and challenge what’s known. Every door this exceptional work opens opens onto a larger light.—Patricia Smith

To go back “is a verb conjugated in dreams,” Lauren Alleyne writes in her debut volume Difficult Fruit, inscribing the governing mystery of this work, the secret knowledge of the dead. In anaphoric bursts of incantatory disclosure, in ghazals of love and survival, eros and the infinite, she does, indeed, go back, past all griefs and illuminations, “to the song beneath the song.” There is uncommon spiritual knowledge here as well as political discernment. There is much to learn while accompanying Alleyne on her “raft of language,” through a troubled world and an imagined heaven, to the place “from which comes all singing.” I have gone with her and would do so again and again.—Carolyn Forché

Difficult Fruit is a book I wish there were no need for. But need there is; and Alleyne delivers poems of loss and grief and, thankfully, hope. “Meaning is the closest we get to salvation,/which is to say the word changes nothing/–it does not unmake the rivers,” she writes. But addressing the ages in ghazal and crown and free verse forms, she reminds us, in the “flaming sentence” that in one’s life, “it is in the raft of language we begin our escape.”Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon

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Wonderful work!

Happy Reading!



Monday Must Read! Jonathan Moody: Olympic Butter Gold

iv_jonathanmoody_headshotThis week meet Jonathan Moody. Jonathan holds an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh and a BS degree in Psychology from Xavier University of Louisiana. Author of The Doomy Poems (Six Gallery Press, 2012) and Olympic Butter Gold (Northwestern University Press, 2015), winner of the 2014 Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize, his poetry has appeared in such publications as African American Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Borderlands, Boston Review, The Common, and Harvard Review Online. He lives in Fresno, Texas, with his wife and son.

Buy Jonathan Moody’s Books

Olympic Butter Gold


Jonathan Moody grew up during the Golden Ages of hip-hop and listened to rap that was as adventurous and diverse as his military upbringing. When rap’s Golden Ages expired, the music’s innovativeness and variety diminished. Moody’s second book, Olympic Butter Gold, winner of the 2014 Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize, responds to Chuck D’s claim that “if there was a HIP-HOP or Rap Olympics, I really don’t think the United States would get Gold, Silver or Brass.” From the poem “Opening Ceremony,” in the voice of a heroin addict struggling to use Lady Liberty’s torch to cook “The American Dream,” to “Dear 2Pac,” an autobiographical account of teaching Tupac Shakur’s poetry to engage high school students indifferent to literature, Moody shares a worldview that is simultaneously apocalyptic and promising.

The Doomy Poems


The Doomy Poems challenges the notion that the blues embodies resignation: a self-imposed suffering in which one chooses to remain stuck at the crossroads of nostalgia and obsession. Through persona poems written in the voices of three characters, Jonathan Moody illustrates that in both the South (Houston) and the North (Pittsburgh) the roads to love and integrity, although freshly paved, are strewn with nails and shards of glass.”

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Happy Reading, y’all!





Monday Must Read: Dawn Lundy Martin: Life in a Box is a Pretty Life


DAWN-LUNDY-MARTIN-2This week, recommending Dawn Lundy Martin‘s Life in a Box Is a Pretty Life, from Nightboat Books. Dawn earned a BA from the University of Connecticut, an MA in creative writing from San Francisco State University, and a PhD in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Martin’s first full-length collection, A Gathering of Matter / A Matter of Gathering(University of Georgia Press, 2007), was selected by Carl Phillips for the 2007 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Her second collection,Discipline, won the 2009 Nightboat Books Poetry Prize, chosen by Fanny Howe(Nightboat Books, 2011). Her most recent collection is Life in a Box Is a Pretty Life(Nightboat Books, 2014).

In 2004, she co-edited, alongside Vivien Labaton, The Fire This Time: Young Activists and the New Feminism (Anchor Books, 2004), a collection of essays on modern theories of activism in America. She also wrote the Afterword, titled “What, Then, is Freedom,” to Harriet Ann Jacobs’ 19th century slave narrative, Incidents of a Slave Girl (Signet Classics, 2010).

Martin is co-founder of the Third Wave Foundation in New York, a national grant making organization led by young women and transgender youth, which focuses on social justice activism. She is also a member of the Black Took Collective, a group of experimental black poets embracing critical theory about gender, race, and sexuality. 

Martin has taught at the University of Pittsburgh, The New School, and Bard College. In June 2013, she was a was a featured writer for Harriet.

Buy Dawn’s Beautiful Books

Life in a Box is a Pretty Life


Praise for Life in a Box is a Pretty Life

from Fanzine

“Shades of a Bruise: A Review of Life in a Box is a Pretty Life” by Paul Cunningham

“I think of the contorted poems of Life in a Box is a Pretty Life as themselves boxes. Imprisoned voices. Entering one of these boxes might feel more like something akin to giving one’s self over to crisis. Or chaos. How exactly should one feel about their participation in these boxes? I think it depends on the reader. The reader could possibly feel like they’re looking into a mirror; another might feel like they’re gazing down a corridor of Hell. Again, the reflection/refraction depends on the reader. Perhaps a reader will feel like they’re stepping into familiar territory, or they might feel explicitly uninvited once immersed within these boxes. Or even suddenly, violently deformed by these boxes. Defamiliarized and/or re-shaped by these boxes. Strengthened and/or bolstered by these boxes. One might also not know how to feel. These boxes might induce sweat, nausea, discomfort…”

Read the full review here: http://thefanzine.com/a-review-of-dawn-lundy-martins-life-in-a-box-is-a-pretty-life/



A Gathering of Matter / a Matter of Gathering

(Winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize)


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And So Important Today: Dawn Lundy Martin, Claudia Rankine, and Messiah in Conversation: Readings and Discussion of Justice Poetry


Beautiful reading, y’all ❤



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