9 Books Published by Tin House Books on AALBC — Book Cover Collage

Click for more detail about All the Names Given: Poems by Raymond Antrobus All the Names Given: Poems

by Raymond Antrobus
Tin House Books (Nov 30, 2021)
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On the heels of his much-lauded debut collection, Raymond Antrobus continues his essential investigation into language, miscommunication, place, and memory in All The Names Given, while simultaneously breaking new ground in both form and content.

The collection opens with poems about the author’s surname—one that shouldn’t have survived into modernity—and examines the rich and fraught history carried within it. As Antrobus outlines a childhood caught between intimacy and brutality, sound and silence, and conflicting racial and cultural identities, the poem becomes a space in which the poet reckons with his own ancestry, and bears witness to the indelible violence of the legacy wrought by colonialism. The poems travel through space—shifting fluidly between England, South Africa, Jamaica, and the American South—and brilliantly move from an examination of family history into the wandering lust of adolescence and finally, vividly, into a complex array of marriage poems—matured, wiser, and more accepting of love’s fragility. Throughout, All The Names Given is punctuated with [Caption Poems] partially inspired by Deaf sound artist Christine Sun Kim, in which the art of writing captions attempts to fill in the silences and transitions between the poems as well as moments inside and outside of them.

Formally sophisticated, with a weighty perception and startling directness, All The Names Given is a timely, tender book full of humanity and remembrance from one of the most important young poets of our generation.


Click for more detail about Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night by Morgan Parker Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night

by Morgan Parker
Tin House Books (Jul 13, 2021)
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Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night—the book that launched the career of one of our most important young American poets—is back in print.

The debut collection from award-winning poet Morgan Parker demonstrates why she’s become one of the most beloved writers working today. Her command of language is on full display. Parker bobs and weaves between humor and pathos, grief and anxiety, Gwendolyn Brooks and Jay-Z, the New York School and reality television. She collapses any foolish distinctions between the personal and the political, the "high" and the "low." Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night not only introduced an essential new voice to the world, it contains everything readers have come to love about Morgan Parker’s work.


Click for more detail about The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus The Perseverance

by Raymond Antrobus
Tin House Books (Mar 30, 2021)
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A Best Book of the Year at The Guardian, The Sunday Times, Poetry School, New York Public Library, and Entropy Magazine

Winner of the Ted Hughes Award, Rathbones Folio Prize, and Somerset Maugham Award; finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize and Reading the West Book Award

In the wake of his father’s death, the speaker in Raymond Antrobus’ The Perseverance travels to Barcelona. In Gaudi’s Cathedral, he meditates on the idea of silence and sound, wondering whether acoustics really can bring us closer to God. Receiving information through his hearing aid technology, he considers how deaf people are included in this idea. “Even though,” he says, “I have not heard / the golden decibel of angels, / I have been living in a noiseless / palace where the doorbell is pulsating / light and I am able to answer.”

The Perseverance is a collection of poems examining a d/Deaf experience alongside meditations on loss, grief, education, and language, both spoken and signed. It is a book about communication and connection, about cultural inheritance, about identity in a hearing world that takes everything for granted, about the dangers we may find (both individually and as a society) if we fail to understand each other.


Click for more detail about Negotiations by Destiny O. Birdsong Negotiations

by Destiny O. Birdsong
Tin House Books (Oct 13, 2020)
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"Full of wonder." —Elizabeth Acevedo

A Best Book of the Year at BuzzFeed, Refinery29, and Entropy Magazine

What makes a self? In her remarkable debut collection of poems, Destiny O. Birdsong writes fearlessly towards this question. Laced with ratchetry, yet hungering for its own respectability, Negotiations is about what it means to live in this America, about Cardi B and top-tier journal publications, about autoimmune disease and the speaker’s intense hunger for her own body—a surprise of self-love in the aftermath of both assault and diagnosis.

It’s a series of love letters to black women, who are often singled out for abuse and assault, silencing and tokenism, fetishization and cultural appropriation in ways that throw the rock, then hide the hand. It is a book about tenderness and an indictment of people and systems that attempt to narrow black women’s lives, their power. But it is also an examination of complicity—both a narrative and a black box warning for a particular kind of self-healing that requires recognizing culpability when and where it exists.


Click for more detail about A Girl Is a Body of Water by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi A Girl Is a Body of Water

by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
Tin House Books (Sep 01, 2020)
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In her twelfth year, Kirabo, a young Ugandan girl, confronts a piercing question that has haunted her childhood: who is my mother? Kirabo has been raised by women in the small village of Nattetta—her grandmother, her best friend, and her many aunts, but the absence of her mother follows her like a shadow. Complicating these feelings of abandonment, as Kirabo comes of age she feels the emergence of a mysterious second self, a headstrong and confusing force inside her at odds with her sweet and obedient nature.

Seeking answers, Kirabo begins spending afternoons with Nsuuta, a local witch, trading stories and learning not only about this force inside her, but about the woman who birthed her, who she learns is alive but not ready to meet. Nsuuta also explains that Kirabo has a streak of the "first woman"—an independent, original state that has been all but lost to women.

Kirabo’s journey to reconcile her rebellious origins, alongside her desire to reconnect with her mother and to honor her family’s expectations, is rich in the folklore of Uganda and an arresting exploration of what it means to be a modern girl in a world that seems determined to silence women. Makumbi’s unforgettable novel is a sweeping testament to the true and lasting connections between history, tradition, family, friends, and the promise of a different future.


Click for more detail about A Fortune for Your Disaster by Hanif Abdurraqib A Fortune for Your Disaster

by Hanif Abdurraqib
Tin House Books (Sep 03, 2019)
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"When an author’s unmitigated brilliance shows up on every page, it’s tempting to skip a description and just say, Read this! Such is the case with this breathlessly powerful, deceptively breezy book of poetry." —Booklist, Starred Review

In his much-anticipated follow-up to The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, poet, essayist, biographer, and music critic Hanif Abdurraqib has written a book of poems about how one rebuilds oneself after a heartbreak, the kind that renders them a different version of themselves than the one they knew. It’s a book about a mother’s death, and admitting that Michael Jordan pushed off, about forgiveness, and how none of the author’s black friends wanted to listen to "Don’t Stop Believin’." It’s about wrestling with histories, personal and shared. Abdurraqib uses touchstones from the world outside—from Marvin Gaye to Nikola Tesla to his neighbor’s dogs—to create a mirror, inside of which every angle presents a new possibility.

Book Review

Click for more detail about Magical Negro by Morgan Parker Magical Negro

by Morgan Parker
Tin House Books (Feb 05, 2019)
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Magical Negro is an archive of black everydayness, a catalog of contemporary folk heroes, an ethnography of ancestral grief, and an inventory of figureheads, idioms, and customs. These American poems are both elegy and jive, joke and declaration, songs of congregation and self-conception. They connect themes of loneliness, displacement, grief, ancestral trauma, and objectification, while exploring and troubling tropes and stereotypes of Black Americans. Focused primarily on depictions of black womanhood alongside personal narratives, the collection tackles interior and exterior politics—of both the body and society, of both the individual and the collective experience. In Magical Negro, Parker creates a space of witness, of airing grievances, of pointing out patterns. In these poems are living documents, pleas, latent traumas, inside jokes, and unspoken anxieties situated as firmly in the past as in the present—timeless black melancholies and triumphs.


Click for more detail about There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé

by Morgan Parker
Tin House Books (Feb 14, 2017)
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A TIME Magazine Best Paperback of 2017

One of Oprah Magazine’s "Ten Best Books of 2017"

"This singular poetry collection is a dynamic meditation on the experience of, and societal narratives surrounding, contemporary black womanhood… . These exquisite poems defy categorization." —The New Yorker

The only thing more beautiful than Beyoncé is God, and God is a black woman sipping rosé and drawing a lavender bath, texting her mom, belly-laughing in the therapist’s office, feeling unloved, being on display, daring to survive. Morgan Parker stands at the intersections of vulnerability and performance, of desire and disgust, of tragedy and excellence. Unrelentingly feminist, tender, ruthless, and sequined, these poems are an altar to the complexities of black American womanhood in an age of non-indictments and deja vu, and a time of wars over bodies and power. These poems celebrate and mourn. They are a chorus chanting: You’re gonna give us the love we need.

Praise For There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce…

There are more beautiful things than Beyonce in these pages because, as Morgan Parker writes in poems channeling the president’s wife, the Venus Hottentot and multiple Beyonces, “we’re everyone. We have ideas and vaginas, history and clothes and a mother.” The kind of verve the late New York school Ted Berrigan would have called “feminine marvelous and tough” is here, as well as the kind of vulnerability that fortifies genuine daring. This is a marvelous book. See for yourself. Morgan Parker is a fearlessly forward and forward-thinking literary star.
— Terrance Hayes

[Morgan Parker’s] poems are delightful in their playful ability to rake through our contemporary moment in search of all manner of riches, just as they are
devastating in their ability to remind us of what we look like when nobody’s watching, and of what the many things we don’t—or can’t—say add up to.
— Tracy K. Smith

Outstanding collection of poems. So much soul. So much intelligence in how Parker folds in cultural references and the experiences of black womanhood. Every poem will get its hooks into you. And of course, the poems about Beyoncé are the greatest because Beyoncé is our queen.
— Roxane Gay


Click for more detail about When the Only Light Is Fire by Saeed Jones When the Only Light Is Fire

by Saeed Jones
Tin House Books (Nov 15, 2011)
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In his debut chapbook of poetry, Saeed Jones walks on the periphery of the South, those places on the outskirts of town, in bars after midnight, and on dangerous backroads where most people keep their heads down or look the other way. Through Texas and Tennessee, Alabama and the riverbeds of the Mississippi, these poems wrap themselves in cloaks of masks and comfort; garments we learn are flammable if we stand too close to flames. D. A. Powell says of Saeed’s work, "Like Aeneas carrying his father from the ruined city of Troy, Saeed Jones brings all of his beginnings—the roots and tendrils of the kudzu vines, the ’sky burned to blazing, ’ the lore and pain and wisdom of salvation—into a new space where art and beauty stagger the mind; where the story of transformation becomes part of the cultural body of who we are. I get shout-happy when I read these poems; they are the gospel; they are the good news of the sustaining power of imagination, tenderness and outright joy; they are the birth of a new poetry that baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire."