A Reading List for Black History Month 2024

For Black History Month, observed annually during the month of February, we asked our member magazines and presses to share with us some of the books and literary journals they recommend reading in celebration.




Rupture by Monique Adelle featuring a green plant growing in a giant crack on a white surface.Rupture by Monique Adelle

Codhill Press | 2023

Rupture “weaves together the history of enslaved women in the Americas and themes of life, love, and loss.”




Muscadine by A. H. Jerriod Avant

Four Way Books | 2023

Avant’s debut poetry collection “cultivates the vine of familial memory, eulogizing our collective losses while exalting the succor of this human life.”




Murmur by Cameron Barnett

Autumn House Press | 2024

In his second collection, Barnett “traces a Black man’s lineage through time and space in contemporary America, navigating personal experiences, political hypocrisies, pop culture, social history, astronomy, and language.”




Break the Habit by Tara Betts

Trio House Press | 2016

According to Miguel Soto, Break the Habit “weaves together experience, emotion, and language to tear and repair its reader.”




Master Suffering by CM Burroughs

Tupelo Press | 2021

Burroughs’s poetry collection “pendulates between yield and command; the bodies of this book are supplicant yet seething—they want nothing more than to survive.”




Is There Room for Another Horse on Your Horse Ranch? by Cyrus Cassells

Four Way Books | 2024

This poetry collection “is the apotheosis of Cassells’s work to elevate the mundane and the bodily to the exalted, his vigorous lyrics a routine ecstasy.”




The Book of Light: Anniversary Edition by Lucille Clifton

Copper Canyon Press | 2023

This special anniversary edition of The Book of Light, with an introduction by Ross Gay, “offers new meditations and insights on one of the most beloved voices of the 20th century.”




On The Imperial Highway: New and Selected Poems by Jayne Cortez

Hanging Loose Press | 2009

According to Maya Angelou, “Cortez has been and continues to be an explorer, probing the valleys and chasms of human existence.”




Haint by Teri Ellen Cross Davis

Gival Press | 2016

According to Cornelius Eady, Haint “is a book of choices, and witnessing. A book of learning the body’s territories, pleasures and sorrows.”




Music for Exile by Nehassaiu deGannes 

Tupelo Press | 2021

The poems in this debut collection “syncretize a host of lyrical, received and invented forms to beckon a “mythic assemblage,” an aggregation of personal and historical losses, intimate and en masse.”




Plans for Sentences by Renee Gladman

Wave Books | 2022

Gladman’s book “blurs the distinctions between text and image, recognizing that drawing can be a form of writing, and vice versa: a generative act in which the two practices not only inform each other but propel each other into futures.”




Black Swim by Nicholas Goodly

Copper Canyon Press | 2022

In this debut poetry collection, Goodly “casts a spell to transform darkness into perfect darkness.”




Things I Didn’t Do with This Body by Amanda Gunn

Copper Canyon Press | 2023

Things I Didn’t Do with This Body “sings in myriad voices and forms—ragged columns rich with syncopated internal rhyme, crisp formal sonnets, and the angular shapes of a stream-of-pill-induced-consciousness.”




Discordant by Richard Hamilton featuring a black and white photograph of a Black woman in a crowd wearing a hat and sunglasses.Discordant by Richard Hamilton

Autumn House Press | 2023

Hamilton’s second poetry collection offers “multilayered examinations of injustices—from mass incarceration to failing schools and right-wing fascism.”




Black girl magic & other elixirs by Shantell Hinton Hill

Yellow Arrow Publishing | 2023

This poetry collection is about “the embodied experiences of a ’90s Black girl growing up in the American South and how those experiences shaped her becoming a Black woman.”




Truth Be Told by Linda Susan Jackson

Four Way Books | 2024

Jackson’s collection “looks at the myriad treasures and complexities of Black womanhood by channeling an eclectic cast whose rich interactions testify to the timeless neglect of girlhood, the bond of long-term friendship and the responsibilities of authorship.”




Reparations Now! by Ashley M. Jones

Hub City Press | 2021

In this poetry collection, Jones “calls for long-overdue reparations to the Black descendants of enslaved people in the United States of America.”




Patient. by Bettina Judd

Black Lawrence Press | 2014

According to Beverly Guy-Sheftall, this poetry collection explores “slavery’s stench, the bodies of Black women, death, scientific racism, memory.”




The Bushman’s Medicine Show by Gary Copeland Lilley

Lost Horse Press | 2017

This poetry collection “is a southern gothic testament delivered by an archetypical denizen of the modern south, a sort of Everyman from the Carolina low-country traversing the territories of family, the spirits, society, culture, and identity, while refusing to be eradicated.”




Pullman by JoAnne McFarland

Grid Books | 2023

This multimedia poetry collection “examines themes of labor and love, using as its backdrop the history of the treatment of the Pullman car porters of the late 19th century.”




Building a Nest from the Bones of My People by Cara-Lyn Morgan featuring artwork of yellow hummingbirds flying near an extended hand against a pink patterned background.Building a Nest from the Bones of My People by Cara-Lyn Morgan

Invisible Publishing | 2023

In these poems, Morgan “explores the complexities of generational and secondary abuse, intertwined as they are with the impacts of colonization.”




day pulls down the sky / a filament in gold leaf by Okwui Okpokwasili and Asiya Wadud

Belladonna* Collaborative | 2019

This collection is comprised of Okwui Okpokwasili’s song lyrics and Asiya Wadud’s poems written in response to them and contains both a collaboration and two parallel texts.




Glitter Road by January Gill O’Neil

CavanKerry Press | 2024

These poems “reclaim the vulnerable, intimate parts of a life in transition and celebrate womanhood through awakenings, landscapes, meanders, and possibilities.”




Threesome in the Last Toyota Celica & Other Circus Tricks by M. Mick Powell featuring a broken heart lollipop against a blue background.threesome in the last Toyota Celica & other circus tricks by m. mick powell

Host Publications | 2023

This poetry chapbook “sings about Black queer femmehood in harmonies of multiple voices, asserting the self as ever-changing and voluminous.”




wordtomydead by sadé powell

Ugly Duckling Presse | 2023

Using a typewriter from the 1940s, powell “mucks up orthography to investigate disorienting practices of refusal and wade through the fundamental feltness and unintelligibility of thingness.”




I’m Always so Serious by Karisma Price

Sarabande Books | 2023

This debut poetry collection, anchored in New Orleans and New York City, “is an extended meditation on Blackness, on family, on loss.”




Roadmap by Monica Prince

Santa Fe Writers Project | 2023

In Roadmap, a “radical twenty-first century choreopoem, Dorian, a young American Black man, is tasked by an ancestral spirit to thwart his inevitable murder.”




Mausoleum of Flowers by Daniel B. Summerhill

CavanKerry Press | 2022

Summerhill’s second poetry collection “celebrates Black culture, creativity, and memory.”




Beg No Pardon by Lynne Thompson

Perugia Press | 2007

Thompson’s debut poetry collection “describes a vivid world of Afro-Caribbean heritage and late 20th-century life.”




Person, Perceived Girl by A. A. Vincent

Barrow Street Press | 2022

Person, Perceived Girl is a poetry collection “that explores Blackness—specifically queer, Midwestern, disabled, and transracially adopted Blackness.”




A Fire in the Hills by Afaa Weaver

Red Hen Press | 2023

According to Rajiv Mohabir, “A Fire in the Hills burns through violences internal and external—whether in Chicago, in schools, in public pools, by police against Black folks—while writing back to America.”




Awaiting by Charisse Pearlina Weston

Ugly Duckling Presse | 2023

“Part autobiography, part play, part fictive dream as long poem,” Awaiting “begins by detaching phrases and motifs from two seemingly disparate plays (Lorraine Hansberry’s What Use are Flowers? and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot).”




Uses of My Body by Simone Savannah

Barrow Street Press | 2020

This poetry collection is “a bold first book about womanhood, daughterhood, and physical intimacy, and about how we experience these states only in larger communities of knowing.”




My Afmerica by Artress Bethany White

Trio House Press | 2019

According to Willie Perdomo, “My Afmerica forces us to consider the cost of history, brutality, racism, accompanied by documented facts.”




American Sycamore by Lisbeth White 

Perugia Press | 2022

American Sycamore is “an exploration of racial identity and the natural world, rooted in the mythopoetics of wilderness and ancestry as sources of trauma, grief, wonder, and tremendous resource.”




Detroit As Barn by Crystal Williams

Lost Horse Press | 2014

In this collection, Williams’s “desperate and ecstatic poetry takes us beyond Simulacrum Detroit, the stage-set of crisis capitalism, to the human landscape of absolute potential and contingency.”




World Without End by Claude Wilkinson

Slant Books | 2020

This poetry collection examines “the seemingly infinite spiritual implications woven throughout our experience in the natural world.”




Poem of Stone and Bone: The Iconography of James W. Washington Jr. in Fourteen Stanzas and Thirty-One Days by Carletta Carrington Wilson

Raven Chronicles Press | 2023

This collection of journal entries and photographs “documents four site-specific installations Carletta Carrington Wilson created on the property of sculptor James W. Washington Jr. in 2011.”




Monk Eats an Afro by Yolanda Wisher

Hanging Loose Press | 2014

Wisher’s poetry collection “cracks open a blueswoman’s purse of poem and songs, bursting folk poetry for the millennium.”




Music, Drama, and Visual Arts


Audre Lorde at Fassett Studio, 1970

Fonograf Editions | 2023

This 12” LP features a recording of a reading Audre Lorde gave in May 1970 at Harvard’s Woodberry Poetry Room, alongside a liner notes booklet featuring poems by Fred Moten and Pamela Sneed and essays by Tongo Eisen-Martin, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, and Carl Phillips.




bull-jean & dem/dey back by Sharon Bridgforth

53rd State Press | 2022

bull-jean & dem/dey back “collects two performance/novels centering Sharon Bridgforth’s southern-Black-butch-sheroe, bull-jean.”




Particle and Wave: A Conversation by Daniel Alexander Jones and Alexis Pauline Gumbs

53rd State Press | 2021

In this conversation, Jones and Gumbs “discuss love as a foundational principle of artistic practice and societal change.”




Fodder by Douglas Kearney and Val Jeanty

Fonograf Editions | 2021

Recorded live in Portland in 2019, this album featuring words by Douglas Kearney “touches on Charlottesville, Louis Armstrong, and Afro-futurism.”






Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic 

Lookout Books | 2022

Edited by Valerie Boyd, this anthology collects “the voices of those most harshly affected by the intersecting pandemics of Covid-19 and systemic racism.”




Black from the Future: A Collection of Black Speculative Writing

BLF Press | 2019

Edited by Stephanie Andrea Allen and Lauren Cherelle, this anthology “encompasses the broad spectrum of Black speculative writing, including science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, and Afrofuturism, all by Black women writers.”




Black Imagination: Black Voices on Black Futures

McSweeney’s | 2020

According to Keisha-Gaye Anderson, this anthology curated by Natasha Marin “weaves lyrical narratives of being and becoming into a tapestry that shows us the beauty and power of unfettered imagination.”




Black Joy Unbound

BLF Press | 2023

“Inspired by a deep longing for writing that embodies the vivacity of Blackness and Black life,” this multi-genre collection edited by Stephanie Andrea Allen and Lauren Cherelle “encompasses a broad spectrum of literary writing on Black joy.”




But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women’s Studies

Feminist Press | 1993

Edited by Akasha (Gloria T.) Hull, Patricia Bell Scott, and Barbara Smith and originally published in 1982, All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women’s Studies is the first comprehensive collection of black feminist scholarship.




The Echoing Ida Collection

Feminist Press | 2021

Edited by Cynthia R. Greenlee, Kemi Alabi, and Janna A. Zinzi, this book features community reporting from a writing collective of Black women and nonbinary writers, covering “reproductive justice and abortion politics; new and necessary definitions of family; trans visibility; stigma against Black motherhood; Black mental health; and more.”






No God Like the Mother by Kesha Ajọsẹ-Fisher

Forest Avenue Press | 2023

Winner of the Oregon Book Award for Fiction, No God Like the Mother “follows characters in transition, through tribulation and hope.”




Malambo by Lucía Charún-Illescas 

Translated from the Spanish by Emmanuel Harris II

Swan Isle Press | 2004

This historical novel “probes the brutal clash of ethnicity, religion, and class in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Peru.”




A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times by Meron Hadero

Restless Books | 2022

Winner of the 2020 Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing and the 2021 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing, this short fiction collection “follows characters on the journey toward home.”




The Wishing Pool and Other Stories by Tananarive Due

Akashic Books | 2023

In these 14 stories, “Due further cements her status as a leading innovator in Black horror and Afrofuturism.”




A Woman’s Place by Marita Golden

McSweeney’s | 2022

According to Faylita Hicks, this novel originally published in 1986 “reads as the beating heart of every Black woman still burning with wild intentions and the impulse to define themselves, for themselves.”




Tea by the Sea by Donna Hemans

Red Hen Press | 2020

Hemans’s debut novel is, according to Marlon James, “a powder keg of a novel, where secrets and lies explode into truth and consequences, all told with spellbinding, shattering power.”




Good Women by Halle Hill

Hub City Press | 2023

Hill’s debut short fiction collection “delves into the lives of twelve Black women across the Appalachian South.”




The Maroons: An Abolitionist Novel by Louis Timagène Houat

Translated from the French by Aqiil Gopee with Jeffrey Diteman

Restless Books | 2024

The only known novel by Black abolitionist and political exile Louis Timagène Houat, The Maroons is “a fervid account of slavery and escape on nineteenth-century Réunion Island.”




The Sleeping Car Porter by Suzette Mayr

Coach House Books | 2022

The Sleeping Car Porter “brings to life an important part of Black history in North America, from the perspective of a queer man living in a culture that renders him invisible in two ways.”




Ndima Ndima by Tsitsi Mapepa

Catalyst Press | 2023

This novel is “the saga of the four Taha sisters, and the indomitable matriarch who carried her daughters—and her community—through times of drought and violence in their Harare neighborhood.”




The Quality of Mercy by Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu

Catalyst Press | 2023

The final novel in the City of Kings trilogy, set in South Africa, follows “the investigation of Spokes Moloi, the first black chief inspector in the City of Kings, who on the eve of his retirement is handed one final crime.”




Shadows of Your Black Memory by Donato Ndongo

Translated from the Spanish by Michael Ugarte

Swan Isle Press | 2007

Set during the last years of Spanish rule in Equatorial Guinea, Shadows of Your Black Memory presents the voice of a young African man reflecting on his childhood.




The Day Rider and Other Stories by J. E. Robinson

Gival Press | 2013

Winner of the San Francisco Book Festival Award for Gay Literature, this short fiction collection “presents characters nominally situated in one world who seek to join another, while being themselves.”




Company by Shannon Sanders featuring graphic artwork of a two-story townhouse with a figure’s silhouette in the upper window in mustard-yellow, black, and beige colors.Company by Shannon Sanders

Graywolf Press | 2023

This short fiction collection “brings us into the company of the Collins family and their acquaintances as they meet, bicker, compete, celebrate, worry, keep and reveal secrets, build lives and careers, and endure.”




Parade of Streetlights by Itua Uduebo

Read Furiously Publishing | 2023

Uduebo’s novel “is a captivating exploration of the millennial experience,” in which “Kola explores his adopted home of New York City and all aspects of his world with candor and humor.”




The Living Is Easy by Dorothy West

Feminist Press | 2020

West’s first novel, originally published in the 1940s, is “a classic of American literature by a groundbreaking African American woman writer whose work deserves widespread and enduring recognition.”






Wrong Is Not My Name: Notes on (Black) Art by Erica N. Cardwell

Feminist Press | 2024

Wrong Is Not My Name “weaves together autobiography, criticism, and theory, and considers how Black women create alternative, queer, and ‘hysterical’ lives through visual culture and performance.”




Plums for Months: Memories of a Wonder-Filled, Neurodivergent Childhood by Zaji Cox

Forest Avenue Press | 2023

These short essays “evoke the abundant imagination of childhood” and explore “the challenges of growing up mixed race and low-income on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon.”




Black and Female by Tsitsi Dangarembga

Graywolf Press | 2023

In this essay collection, Dangarembga “examines the legacy of imperialism on her own life and on every aspect of black embodied African life.”




The Incredible Shrinking Woman by Athena Dixon 

Split/Lip Press | 2020

Dixon’s essay collection is “a gentle unpacking of the roles she learned to inhabit, growing up as a Black woman in a small Midwestern town, to avoid disruption.”




Holy American Burnout! by Sean Enfield

Split/Lip Press | 2023

This essay collection “wrestles with the physical, mental, and emotional burdens that American society places on educators, students, and all relatively conscious minorities in this country.”




Rolling: A Ladies’ Guide to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by Melanie Farmer

Burrow Press | 2023

According to Colson Whitehead, this essay is “a wise and wry take on identity formation, parental expectations, and proper martial arts attire.”




Graham_YourBlackFriendYour Black Friend Has Something to Say by Melva Graham

Regal House Publishing | 2020

In her debut essay collection, Graham “answers back to the bias and bigotry she has experienced from childhood to adulthood,” depicting “one woman’s journey to own her truth, find her voice, and take back her power.”




Girlz ‘n the Hood by Mary Hill-Wagner

Regal House Publishing | 2021

This memoir is “the unsentimental, moving, and surprisingly humorous account of a girl and her ten siblings who grew up in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles.”




Optic Subwoof by Douglas Kearney featuring yellow and white print smudges against a peach-pink background.Optic Subwoof by Douglas Kearney

Wave Books | 2022

In Optic Subwoof, winner of the 2023 Firecracker Award in Creative Nonfiction, “readers are invited into a work of creative nonfiction where language is at its best and most playful and yet most serious.”




And It Begins Like This by LaTanya McQueen

Black Lawrence Press | 2018

According to Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, “McQueen writes with fierce eloquence about the legacies of family and America’s racial history.”




Bright by Kiki Petrosino

Sarabande Books | 2022

In this essay collection, Petrosino “contemplates the enduring, deeply personal legacies of enslavement and racial discrimination in America.”




The Kevin Powell Reader: Essential Writings and Conversations by Kevin Powell

Akashic Books | 2023

This book contains a selection from Powell’s lifework, “spanning the Reagan-Bush years of AIDS and crack epidemics to our current era framed by the COVID-19 pandemic; the tragic killing of George Floyd; the #MeToo movement; and much more.”




Dark Days: Fugitive Essays by Roger Reeves

Graywolf Press | 2023

Reeves’s essays “build a profound vision for how to see and experience the world in our present moment, and how to strive toward an alternative existence in intentional community underground.”




Sister Love: The Letters of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker

Sinister Wisdom | 2018

In these collected letters, Audre Lorde and Pat Parker “discuss their work as writers as well as intimate details of their lives, including periods when each lived with cancer.”




Sweet Dreams by Pamela Sneed

Belladonna* Collaborative | 2018

According to Tracie Morris, Sneed’s memoir is “a comprehensive account into life as she sees it: bodacious, revolutionary, worth fighting for.”




Uncle: Race, Nostalgia, and the Cultural Politics of Loyalty by Cheryl Thompson

Coach House Books | 2021

In Uncle, Thompson “makes the case for why understanding the production of racial stereotypes matters more than ever before.”




Lit Mags


Logo of ANMLY with the text in black inside a twisted mobius shape colored in with multicolored patches, against a pale purple background.“The Obeah Man” by Camille U. Adams

ANMLY | 2023

This essay begins, “Once upon a time, in a Brooklyn branch of Duane Reade down Borough Hall, I called upon an obeah man. Summoned from the search engines of Google, Eric Miah appeared before me as a link to Ifalasa Enterprises.”




“When You Learn the Alphabet” by Kendra Allen

december Magazine | 2016

This essay begins, “Answer the question: in fifth grade, when you were asked to identify your ethnicity on the test, why did you circle ‘other’ on the scantron?




The Amistad


The latest issue of The Amistad, Howard University’s literary arts journal, features an interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates; fiction by K. Farrell Dalrymple, Renee Setari, and Kyrah Simon; and poetry by a. adenike phillips, Johnny T, and Ellen June Wright.




Logo of Off Assignment featuring black text (off is italicized) on a white background.“To the Passenger Who Sat Elsewhere” by Ber Anena

Off Assignment | 2023

This letter begins, “I was halfway through my journey home when the bus pulled up at your stop. The front door clicked open, but you didn’t step in. A minute passed.”




“My Americanah” by Vincent Anioke

SmokeLong Quarterly | 2022

This story begins, “My fire pit glows in the darkening backyard, corn cobs–Kayode’s favorite–roasting atop the coals. Fresh off the airport taxi, he slides past the rear gates.”




“Mundane” by Fati D. Ashley

Midway Journal | 2023

This poem begins, “Light rays pierce / the dense clouds. They crack open oozing daybreak. / Seagulls swing / back and forth in the air as vines.”




Black Estrangement

The Kenyon Review | 2023

Guest edited by Elinam Agbo, this special online issue “centers the experiences of Black individuals and communities grappling with limited infrastructure, health care systems, archival records, personal histories, grief, climate change, and the wounds of colonialism.”




Black Lesbians—We Are the Revolution!

Sinister Wisdom | 2018

Sinister Wisdom 107 “gathers together new writing by an array of emerging and established black lesbian and queer women writers.”




Logo of The Cincinnati Review featuring "The" and "Review" in black on gray and "Cincinnati" in white on a red square.“What’s on your mind, KB?” by KB Brookins

Cincinnati Review | 2023

This poem begins, “How much cloth & cotton & 2 stabs / of chemicals you can’t name / saves you.”




Logo of ANMLY with the text in black inside a twisted mobius shape colored in with multicolored patches, against a pale purple background.Two Poems by Levi Cain

ANMLY | 2023

The poem “Rapid Cycle” begins, “I am electric! / I am a beehive of movement!  / I am a fire moving a hundred miles an hour….”




“It’s Important I Remember That Abraham Lincoln Always Measured Before He Cut—” by Cortney Lamar Charleston

New England Review | 2023

This poem begins, “saying less, for now, about the steady hand holding the pen / of proclamation and presidential address, saying more // of the one wrapped around the axe handle.”




“What the Angels Eat” by Tyree Daye

Saint Augustine’s Magazine | 2021

This poem begins, “as children we ate watermelons over trash bags in my aunt’s back yard / filled with so many black & blue-eyed crows.”




“Mad Love” by Acamea Deadwiler

Bellevue Literary Review | 2023

This essay begins, “You don’t know hunger. Not like we did. You don’t know hunger that surpasses pain. When your body is too weak to send distress signals.”




Logo of Off Assignment featuring black text (off is italicized) on a white background.“To the Teenage Girl at the Abortion Clinic” by Shavahn Dorris-Jefferson

Off Assignment | 2023

This letter begins, “I tried not to look at you, but then you’d stand up and stretch or gesture big with your hands, and I’d turn my head, and there you were.”




Logo of Terrain.org featuring text in black with a purple dot and a purple and green flower above the text.“Horse and Tree” by Rita Dove

Terrain.org | 2023

This poem begins, “Everybody who’s anybody longs to be a tree— / or ride one, hair blown to froth. / That’s why horses were invented, and saddles / tooled with singular stars.”




Another Chicago Magazine“What You Want is in the Limo’: Some Thoughts on Literary Fame” by Cornelius Eady

Another Chicago Magazine | 2023

This essay begins, “I wonder if we are actually confusing or conflating Fame with Ambition, something every writer is ‘guilty’ of—or Envy, an author’s evil, invisible ‘Harvey’ that has sat in and spoiled a few judging panels in my day—or simple Jealousy, which I’ve seen curdle many an otherwise gentle soul.”




“Ndolé” by Hyla Etame

Lines & Breaks | 2021

This poem begins, “Boom. Boom. / A clap of thunder. / We’re leaving ‘Africa on the Bay’— / the little African store in Tampa.”




“In Search of a Homeplace” by Latoya Faulk

The Common | 2020

This essay begins, “My Grandma trained me in the ways of Black womanhood. The most important lesson being: a home meant freedom.”




“The Beauty of Boys Is” by Vievee Francis

The Common | 2017

This poem begins, “that they are not men, / that they have not settled into their beards and / remorse, their crow’s feet and givens.”




Logo of Terrain.org featuring text in black with a purple dot and a purple and green flower above the text.“Improvised Pocket Parks” by Ross Gay

Terrain.org | 2023

This excerpt from The Book of (More) Delights begins, “Was walking to the store to get some groceries, looking for a warm nook to sit in, a place I might scoop up some sun, wake up my sleepy melanin, which is not the easiest thing to do in this town.”




“If You Scared, Say You Scared” by Sheree L. Greer

Bellevue Literary Review | 2023

This essay begins, “‘If you scared, say you scared,’ is one of my father’s favorite lines. I remember it most from childhood basketball games. On sunny, summer afternoons in Milwaukee, my father and I would walk to the nearest park to play one-on-one.”




“Pilgrimage to Hollywood” by Ben Harris

Under the Sun | 2023

This essay begins, “It was not a wholly conscious decision to go. The idea sprouted, then bloomed outright. It was simply incumbent on me that I go. Now.”




“Topsy Turvy” by Herb Harris

New England Review | 2023

This essay begins, “I started with a group of boxes that looked like the oldest ones in the attic. The packing tape easily lifted away, no longer sticking to the cardboard, and wine glasses and dishes emerged from pages of the Washington Post from the 1970s.”




Two Poems by Terrance Hayes

The Hopkins Review | 2023

The poem “Strange as the Rules of Grammar” begins, “The tale of the mother / whose child grew so quickly // the mother believed something was wrong / with the child was strange….”




“River Queen” by Omotara James

The Seventh Wave | 2017

This poem begins, “On a day I am walking with my cane / in Starbucks / the lady behind me inquires,  / from her wheelchair, / if I am recently disabled.”




“Caught in the Erasure” by Carolyn Joyner

Full Bleed | 2023

This poem begins, “of body, language, identity—memory / across intersections of past, present, future….”




“A Brief History of Contemporary Wage Slavery” by Mukethe Kawinzi 

Kitchen Table Quarterly | 2024

This essay begins, I been farming three turns around the sun now. Way I like to do it is live where I’m working. On the farm. Not everyone likes to do it that way but I do.”




“Rhinoceros Relic” by Brandon Kilbourne

The Hopper | 2023

This poem begins, “In the guise of sunlight breaking / through a canopy of wax leaves, / a patch of lamplight salvages / the forequarter robust as a column.”




“Structural Fatigue” by Michael Kleber-Diggs

Midway Journal | 2019

This poem begins, “A band I love released / another album. I watch them / on YouTube while walking my dog.”




“The Sailor, The Soldier, The Savior” by Thomas Kneeland

Kitchen Table Quarterly | 2024

This poem begins, “That blue & white ‘89 F-150 / carried us across the country / from redwoods to magnolias….”




Logo of The Cincinnati Review featuring "The" and "Review" in black on gray and "Cincinnati" in white on a red square.“Installation Piece” by LaTanya McQueen

Cincinnati Review | 2023

This flash nonfiction piece begins, “No, we will not do this (I will not do this), there will be no telling of the histories of my brethren dead….”




“Invisible Man (Two Views)” by MEH

The ASP Bulletin | 2023

This poem begins, “I am not a spook, nor ectoplasm. / I am flesh and bone. fiber and liquids. / a mind.”




“SYNERGY, a golden shovel” by tangie mitchell

Exposition Review | 2023

This poem begins, “the bonds of blood could no closer tie the knots of homegirls intertwined….”




“Voidspace” by Rachyl Nyoka

The Hopper | 2023

These paintings are part of an ongoing series ‘exploring the quantum physics concept of empty space or voidspace.”




“Inshallah Time” by Gregory Pardlo

Adi Magazine | 2023

This essay begins, “According to the WhatsApp texts the Dean’s administrative assistant had been sending me, the drivers, plural, would arrive any minute. ‘Inshallah,’ she added. Inshallah, inshallah.”




“my favorite thing about Black people is the way we take up space” by Kailah Peters

The ASP Bulletin | 2023

This poem begins, “laughing loudly in the aisles / of a beauty supply store / or yelling to a friend down the block.”




“The Painter: Still Life” by Beth Brown Preston

Saint Augustine’s Magazine | 2023

This poem begins, “You sat with brushes in hand / and the light flowing above and below, / the prayer like paper, / the light illuminated all our sacred trees.”




“Triage” by Claudia Rankine

The Hopkins Review | 2023

This poem begins, “I can say she started on an avenue / not a street. The avenue had the seduction / sunlight dipping down can bring to a place.”




“Lord of the Fireflies” by LaVie Saad

Exposition Review | 2023

This flash fiction piece begins, “‘I’ll tell y’all about it in good time. Good time, alright? Slow drip, remember?’”




“On Nights My Son Asks to Sleep in My Bed” by Alafia Nicole Sessions

Southern Humanities Review | 2023

This poem begins, “I put my hand on your forehead, whisper your name, / hope to guide the joystick of your dreams to softer science.”




“we’d like to propose—” by Evie Shockley

Adi Magazine | 2020

This poem begins, “our daily peaceful multiracial black-lives-interrupted-by-guns- / (& all black lives)-matter protest was interrupted by a gun….”




“Remembrance” by Oyinkansola Sofela

SmokeLong Quarterly | 2022

This story begins, “It was when the pale men first came that we began to forget. / Something about their presence, their apathy, their unquenchable hunger—it chipped away at our remembering.”




Logo of SWWIM featuring text in white against a black ink splatter.“My Heart Is a Food Desert” by Lolita Stewart-White

SWWIM | 2023

This poem begins, “Dirt floor / Corner store / tucked beneath / an overpass….”




Southern Humanities Review Volume 56, Issue 4 featuring abstract artwork in green, pink, and red colors of a figure hanging down a spiral staircase and reaching for a small house at the bottom.“I Don’t Want Somebody in My House” by Jennifer Taylor-Skinner

Southern Humanities Review | 2023

This essay excerpt begins, “No one had entered the two-room studio of French composer Erik Satie for twenty-seven years when, upon his death, his friends were summoned to the small apartment in Arcueil, France.”




Logo of SWWIM featuring text in white against a black ink splatter.“Sonnet for an America / That Can Strangle Us Because” by Lynne Thompson

SWWIM | 2022

This poem begins, “there are no contingencies when it’s twilight & it’s you / & every contingency has its flag-wavers and every night is…”




“Laundry, Among Other Things” by Jet Toomer

Full Bleed | 2023

This essay,  published with artwork by Shinique Smith, begins, “I’ve been doing laundry for six months today. Or maybe it’s ‘I’ve been doing six months of laundry today.’ It’s felt like an eternity, or at least a lifetime.”




“A Note to Florida Legislators” by Jacqueline Allen Trimble

Salvation South | 2023

This poem begins, “Shall I thank you for teaching us commerce? / Was the auction block a tutorial in fair trade? And anatomy. / Folks stripped to the waist and on down. Perused and pawed.”




“Picture Me Rollin’” by Tiffany Marie Tucker

The Seventh Wave | 2019

This essay begins, “For three years, I boarded a bus in West Pullman, then transferred to the Red Line train to attend Chicago’s Roosevelt University. Black bodies strolled up and down train cars hawking loose squares, loud, socks, and bootleg movies.”




“Baldwın, Boğaz, ve Ben” by Brittany White

Chestnut Review | 2021

This essay begins, “Of all the neighborhoods in the eclectic patchwork that is Istanbul, Rumeli Hisarı is the one I love most. Located in the city’s northernmost district—far from the undulating domes of Süleymaniye Mosque and the Byzantine mosaics of Ayasofya—it’s named after the 15th-century fortress that sits at its center.”




“Our Trespassing” by Joel Worford

Chestnut Review | 2022

This essay begins, “I was the only one who protested when they painted over the tennis courts. I remember the morning well because of the way the cool air kept memories of fall tournaments in my periphery, while the rising sun promised radical change in the afternoon.”