11 Books Published by Tia Chucha Press on AALBC — Book Cover Collage

Click for more detail about 4-Headed Woman by Opal Palmer Adisa 4-Headed Woman

by Opal Palmer Adisa
Tia Chucha (Oct 15, 2013)
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4-Headed Woman is a journey into and through womanhood—from preadolescence through menopause—and an exploration of women’s relations with one another. The poems employ female domestic imagery, manifest in the titles in the book’s first section, which name different types of breads found throughout the world—from coconut to pita. Yet many of these poems are sparse and abstract in their trajectory. The poems in the second section focus specifically on menses, weaving together biological, folk, and cultural aspects in a humorous tone. The third section, “Graffiti Poem,” comprises poems centered around college restrooms, which Adisa sees as a site of communication—through graffiti among other means—for students on a wide variety of social-sexual issues. In 4-Headed Woman, Adisa bravely explores and uncovers taboos about womanhood in a controlled and at times lyrical style laced with humor.

Click for more detail about The Armageddon of Funk by Michael Warr The Armageddon of Funk

by Michael Warr
Tia Chucha (Oct 30, 2011)
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Tracking a nonlinear trek across terrain as distinct as Timbuktu and Baton Rouge, and beliefs as “contrary” as Christianity and Communism, in The Armageddon of Funk Michael Warr manages to interconnect a world of opposites. Via “poetic memoir” we join his navigation through the “apolitical,” rigid morality of the Jehovah’s Witnesses; the revolutionary theories and free love of Black Panthers and Marxists; the promise of a bourgeois future from bank executives; a screaming soldier brandishing an AK-47 in his face, a blizzard of white termite wings; an interrogation under Haile Selassie’s Jubilee Palace; hallucinating of “of cornbread islands” at Chicago’s “Velvet Lounge,” and many “Street Signs, Convolutions, and other California Coincidences” as one poem is titled in this second collection. Warr’s poetry, like his life, is full of interruptions and circularity that captures the broad sweep of the times and microscopic idiosyncrasies of the moment.

Click for more detail about Painkiller: Poems by Patricia Spears Jones Painkiller: Poems

by Patricia Spears Jones
Tia Chucha (Nov 30, 2010)
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“Jones is a ‘poet’s poet,’ a true master. Here she shows is how a poet thinks about the everyday-ness of being alive and forges observation and perception into art.” —poetry editor Laura Baudo Sillerman

Two Poems from Painkiller: Poems from Tia Chucha Press, November 2010. Distributed by Northwestern University Press.


I can taste the metal
lose my desire for red meat

relax, every muscle
the time of day
I can give you
the time of day

What I talk about is how
love eludes me
No what I talk about is
what’s wrong with me

No what I talk about is
what will happen to me

is the secret.
Always fear.

What you get from me is
the edge of a trace of shadows
and that’s all you’ll get

I can’t give anymore
I don’t want to
Everything hurts

This hurtle into living space
and that swift slide out of it.

You want secrets
I say every reckless act
results from a moment of fear.
While compassion is the simple recognition

That what is done cannot be undone,
may not be forgiven.

And a recognition that the murderer and the martyr
the adulterer and the healer can at any moment
change positions, become the other.

It simply depends on how much pain
You need to kill.

Son Cubano

We are at the genesis of a bolero
eyes, lips, thick, kinky dreads
beds, cars, stars

a singer’s words curve
through memory and shadow
rhythms stumble and stop,
come again, the night air a willing audience.

men huddle near a long, brass bar rail,
shoes gleaming, lips smiling, eyes lit
as women, young and old, stroll pass them
on their way to the powder room

las mujeres motion a dream of sand and waves
a Cuba that only the restaurant owner
and his waiters may have truly seen, heard.

late winter, rains slicking the streets of lower Manhattan,
Son Cubano’s portals reveal a theater of nostalgia
the scent of Havana scripts so well.

And we play along
mouths flavored with rum, lime, sugar, our tongues playing
the kisses stolen game as the song phrases
a fierce sadness promised
in the wake of lust’s mercurial ascent

We flee these orchestrated memories
our hands in each others, our mouths hungry for each other.

Our song is bluer, harsher, North American
the rhythms African, yes, as dearly measured in drama and depth.

Our exile is internal. There is little longing
for the good old days when Havana was a mean place
for dark people, but a real fascination
for these songs and their makers.

Your arms cascade a trumpet solo, the piano’s
harmonics thrill my back.
My lips are waiting for yours.

This is our bolero
lovemaking Friday night New York City
Everybody’s exotic.

Everybody’s from the South.


Click for more detail about Femme Du Monde: Poems by Patricia Spears Jones Femme Du Monde: Poems

by Patricia Spears Jones
Tia Chucha (Jun 07, 2006)
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These are poems of positions and relationships, shifting angles on received wisdom or cultural cliché, fiercely signifying in an age of raging information and vicious exploitation. For Patricia Spears Jones, subjectivity is a challenge and a bugaboo. "Who wants to know your stuff unless Subject (Black and Female) is violated and/or perseveres against all odds?" asks Spears Jones. She tackles grand issues like racism and sexism, but with an intimate poet’s eye to details, moments, miracles, pains, and the wildness of the moon and stillness of water. History and the visual serve as analogs for this collection, tying together a diverse group of poems written about the paintings and statuary in Paris; mansions in Virginia; the commes de garcons store in Soho; or a chocolate shop’s window in Munich.

This is a textured landscape of troubles and terrors and temptations galore. A world that would look familiar to Dante, whose observations about winners and losers haunts these poems. "We know more than we care to admit and live lives of such great challenge that where humor and awe finds us is where poetry begins," Spears Jones writes. "Luck is a harsh thing to hang one’s life on. Better to be curious. Get up. Walk out the door and face what the world offers with humor, with courage, with joy."

Book Review

Click for more detail about Dream of a Word: The Tia Chucha Press Poetry Anthology by Quraysh Ali Lansana and Toni Asante Lightfoot Dream of a Word: The Tia Chucha Press Poetry Anthology

by Quraysh Ali Lansana and Toni Asante Lightfoot
Tia Chucha (Feb 07, 2006)
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Since 1989, Tia Chucha Press has been a leader in publishing artistically innovative and culturally provocative voices in poetry. The roster of poets the Press has brought to publication reflects a deep commitment to diversity and features established artists, such as Elizabeth Alexander, Virgil Suarez, and Diane Glancy, as well as first books by award-winning poets Terrance Hayes, A. Van Jordan, and Patricia Smith. Tia Chucha Press has had a powerful impact on the literary world as a very important first press for many poets and a respectable, high quality press for all. Dream of a Word is more than a book of poetry; it is a fifteen year archive of real American life, a testament of democracy in verse, from the gritty streets of East Los Angeles to lonely Indiana avenues. The work in this anthology explores the tough and the tender, the personal as political, with humor, passion, humanity, and grace.

Dream of a Word includes study guides and writing exercises suitable for middle school, high school, and college-aged learners. Both thematic and craft issues are highlighted.

Click for more detail about Rise by A. Van Jordan Rise

by A. Van Jordan
Tia Chucha (Jun 01, 2001)
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In this superb and eagerly anticipated debut collection by the young African American poet A. Van Jordan, the energy and music of Jordan’s language, his honesty of feeling and of truth telling, are matched by his freshness and power. His stuff shines, sweat pours off it, says Joy Harjo. And there is a kind of solidity and reality in Jordan’s poems that display varieties of experience and depths of meditation too rarely found in contemporary American poetry.

Click for more detail about Blues Narratives by Sterling D. Plumpp Blues Narratives

by Sterling D. Plumpp
Tia Chucha (Apr 30, 1999)
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Plumpp’s new poems show his extraordinary sense of the movement of speech and the poetic line, his dazzling metaphors, and his ability to turn language inside out and upside down by looking within the words and rhythms of what we commonly say without thinking. In his poetic versions of the blues, he brings something new into American poetry both technically and spiritually.

Plumpp’s blues narratives are a poetic form and a dialogue between poet and subject—they are unlike anything else in American poetry: a vital, passionate, haunting poetry meant to be read and spoken and sung.

Click for more detail about Talisman by Afaa Michael Weaver Talisman

by Afaa Michael Weaver
Tia Chucha (Apr 30, 1998)
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Black male/female relationships, and women and their significant place in the life of poet Afaa M. Weaver, make up the terrain of Talisman. The poems in this collection attempt to understand and recover the love that was there and which will always remain in the spiritual sense, long after the doors have slammed shut.

Click for more detail about Body Of Life: Poems by Elizabeth Alexander Body Of Life: Poems

by Elizabeth Alexander
Tia Chucha (Jan 13, 1997)
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Tia Chucha Press is proud to reprint Elizabeth Alexander’s ?Body of Life,” first published in 1996 and a collection that stands as a testament to the well-wrought line with the deeply threaded elements of history, ancestors, jazz, and family that mark the rare power inherent in Ms. Alexander’s work. Her selection as the Inaugural Poet for 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama is well deserved?she is one of the most fresh and vital voices in American literature today.

Click for more detail about Life According To Motown by Patricia Smith Life According To Motown

by Patricia Smith
Tia Chucha (Jan 01, 1991)
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In the 1960s, the live of black children were shaped by the glittery specter of Motown—a world of furious flash, undeniable glamour, and impossible romantic ideals. Some discovered the truth before it was too late. Others still drape their blues in the silken sounds, swirling in dimly-lit rooms in an endless, blinding slow dance.

Patricia Smith, born and raised on Chicago’s West Side, grew and thrived on the bright promise of Motown. Life According to Motown, the new collection by the five-time champion of Chicago’s famous Uptown Poetry Slam, recounts in vivid imagery the lessons taught by and learned from Motown, as well as a thrilling collection of new works.

Click for more detail about We Are All the Black Boy (Jossey-Bass Management) by Michael Warr We Are All the Black Boy (Jossey-Bass Management)

by Michael Warr
Tia Chucha (Jan 01, 1990)
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We Are All the Black Boy is a searing work of our time. Full of venom, full of hope, it is an evocative wordscape, tearing down barriers and probing the humanity in each of us. No holds barred poetry. A full appetite of insatiable truth.