6 Books Published by New Issues Poetry & Prose on AALBC — Book Cover Collage

Click for more detail about Mistress by Chet’la Sebree Mistress

by Chet’la Sebree
New Issues Poetry & Prose (Oct 15, 2019)
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This book of poems presents a cross-generational conversation between Sally Hemings and the contemporary narrator about what it means to be a black woman in their respective landscapes, while at the same time demonstrating how little the ways in which we talk about black women and black female experiences have changed in more than two hundred years. In these poems, the speakers engage with historical texts, art, literature, and popular culture, while never allowing us to lose sight of their location within their own settings, the twenty-first century and the antebellum South.

With an intentionally fraught title, Mistress not only addresses the ways in which that word is perhaps inappropriate to define Hemings, but also about how we tend to oversimplify the ways in which we see women. The title is investigated through a series of poems, in which the speakers contemplate the various definitions of "mistress" extramarital partner, skilled individual, school teacher, authority figure, head of household, etc. In this way, the collection asks readers to complicate their understandings of both the word "mistress" and of black women. This collection seeks to resurrect Hemings from the limited historical narrative she’s often provided, while also bucking up against the limited ways in which black women are currently represented in popular culture. Through a series of poems with "mistress" in the title, the book looks at how narrowly we use the word, almost exclusively as extramarital partner, but how the word’s different definitions are related to power and strength. When we strip the term of its positive connotations, it mirrors the way that we strip Hemings of the agency she had over her life and the lives of her children.

Click for more detail about Honeyfish by Lauren K. Alleyne Honeyfish

by Lauren K. Alleyne
New Issues Poetry & Prose (Apr 15, 2019)
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"These poems love. Prophesize. Return us to our beginnings. To
days that we want to remember. Or forget. But don’t. Thus in our
sister’s memory, we survive in the luxury of dying. The courage of
loving. The re-imagining of our souls for another generation. Thank
you, my dear sister for your words saluting our living, our lives."
—Sonia Sanchez, winner of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award
from the Academy of American Poets
"In exquisitely crafted poems of heart-accelerating candor and
clarity, Lauren K. Alleyne says to all the black bodies slain by hatred
and militarized fear, ’Nothing I say will save you, but how can I say
nothing?’ Honeyfish is an elegy for all the countless lost, and a praise
song for the many black lives that persist in their wish to give and
receive love."
— Tracy K. Smith, Poet Laureate of the United States of America
"Even in the places we think of as most beautiful, the endless gong
of the body being broken and defiled will find us. How can we see
the sun and the ocean and the clear blue sky as anything other than
a kind of cruel joke in the face of so much suffering? The extraordinary gift of Lauren K Alleyne’s, Honeyfish is that she shows
the world in all its brutality and loss and somehow lets us mourn within the poems, which in
turn allows us to begin some kind of healing. These are poems whose elegy is ongoing, whose
elegy need never happened but for hatred. The waves go in and out and so many people keep
being killed. And here is this extraordinary poet, making a heaven that is freedom, that is the
dream of being welcomed and loved and tended to. This is a book for our times and for the
day when these times are over and we can rejoice."
— Gabrielle Calvacoressi, author of Rocket Fantastic

Click for more detail about Mule & Pear by Rachel Eliza Griffiths Mule & Pear

by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
New Issues Poetry & Prose (Sep 05, 2011)
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These poems speak to us with voices borrowed from the pages of novels of Alice Walker, Jean Toomer, and Toni Morrison—voices that still have more to say, things to discuss. Each struggles beneath a yoke of dreaming, loving, and suffering. These characters converse not just with the reader but also with each other, talking amongst themselves, offering up their secrets and hard-won words of wisdom, an everlasting conversation through which these poems voice a shared human experience.

Click for more detail about Please (First Book) by Jericho Brown Please (First Book)

by Jericho Brown
New Issues Poetry & Prose (Oct 01, 2008)
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Winner of the American Book Award (2009)

Please explores the points in our lives at which love and violence intersect. Drunk on its own rhythms and full of imaginative and often frightening imagery, Please is the album playing in the background of the history and culture that surround African American/male identity and sexuality. Just as radio favorites like Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, and Pink Floyd characterize loss, loneliness, addiction, and denial with their voices, these poems’ chorus of speakers transform moments of intimacy and humor into spontaneous music. In Please, Jericho Brown sings the influence soul culture has on American life with the accuracy of the blues.

Click for more detail about The Headless Saints (Inland Seas) by Myronn Hardy The Headless Saints (Inland Seas)

by Myronn Hardy
New Issues Poetry & Prose (Mar 01, 2008)
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Poetry. African American Studies. "Myronn Hardy’s THE HEADLESS SAINTS is a book comprised of lyrical epiphanies that embrace the everyday and the mythical, and there is no way to escape the full thrust of these marvelous poems. The tropical feel in THE HEADLESS SAINTS, in the pace and space of the crafted imagery, is tangible and believable"—Yusef Komunyakaa. "These spare, clear-eyed verses are remarkable for the ease with which they reveal a poet of ambitious intelligence and well-honed craft. Myronn Hardy has written a collection of quietly combustible poems that remind us of just what a gifted poet’s deftly judicious craft can produce in music and emotion"—Kwame Dawes.

Click for more detail about Before the Palm Could Bloom: Poems of Africa by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley Before the Palm Could Bloom: Poems of Africa

by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley
New Issues Poetry & Prose (Nov 01, 1998)
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In Before the Palm Could Bloom, Patricia Jabbeh Wesley writes poems of the Liberian civil war and of the devastation it has wrought: 200,000 dead –– including 50,000 children –– and 750,000 citizens forced to take refuge in neighboring countries. And in poems of village life and customs, the city life of Monrovia, the rites of childhood and adolescence, Wesley records for the reader a world that has been forever changed. Wesley’s poems incorporate many African voices, and range in tone from sorrow and longing, to humor and ironic wit. Wesley teaches African literature and other subjects at colleges in southwestern Michigan, where she now lives with her husband and four children.