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Latest Playlist

My Art Is Killing Me And Other Poems

In her novels, poetry, and prose, Amber Dawn has written eloquently on queer femme sexuality, individual and systemic trauma, and sex work justice, themes drawn from her own lived experience and revealed most notably in her award-winning memoir How Poetry Saved My Life. In this, her second poetry collection, Amber Dawn takes stock of the costs of coming out on the page in a heartrendingly honest and intimate investigation of the toll that artmaking takes on artists. Amber Dawn invites her readers to take an unflinching look at what we expect from writers, and from each other.

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Featured on March 23, 2020

Dub: Finding Ceremony

And then there are books that make demands. Daily demands. Seemingly impossible demands. And those are the books that find me...wherever I am sitting before sunrise. The ones that snatch me out of bed while I am still too dazed to ask for anything like sense. These four poems open my book Dub: Finding Ceremony and like every page of that book they are linked to specific acts of phrasing and emphasis in the theoretical work of Sylvia Wynter, whose body of work asks our species to unlearn the colonial scientific and economic stories that make us make sense to ourselves. All endnotes refer to essays by Sylvia Wynter. —Alexis Pauline Gumbs

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Featured on March 16, 2020

Let It Ride

Liu's twelfth book of poems, Let It Ride, integrates life’s struggles at midlife by way of disintegration. What’s left behind are lyrical traces, poetry a gambol, love a gamble, you’re either all in or all out. You let it ride, that is, if you’ve got the guts. And ride he does. These poems argue for a life that is more than amusement—rather, a mythic venture waiting to be embodied, embarked upon. And invariably, it almost never turns out well, not in the long run. But Let It Ride show us that, sometimes, if you happen to get lucky, if you have the good fortune to jot a few things down—you just might stand a chance to walk away from the crowded table with shreds of your soul intact.

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Featured on March 9, 2020

Travesty Generator

In the wake of a racist microaggression, two people of color might look at each other and say, “That was random”—ironically meaning it was anything but. By the same token, the poems of Lillian-Yvonne Bertram’s Travesty Generator use computational processes to demonstrate that randomness offers no escape from the patterns that grief and outrage form in black lives. Composed with (and sometimes of) permutation programming code and algorithms, these poems run relentless procedures on the language of black death and black survival. Bertram’s poetic “output” will confuse and frustrate you, then mesmerize and haunt you—feelings generated by the poetry, as by the very terms of black life in this country. —Evie Shockley author of Semiautomatic

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