I have been competing at the National Poetry Slam for almost ten years. During that time there are people who you see on a consistent basis and never hear any of their work. It isn’t by choice, but some things get…crazy at the NPS tournaments and you don’t see someone at a cypher, or they are practicing too hard in their room to get in cyphers, and you don’t see them in their bouts because you are bouting at the same time, etc. However, because you see them so often, you become friends or at least aware of each other without seeing or hearing their work at all. I knew of Donney Rose for a couple of years, and had met him a dozen times before I had ever heard his work. When I (finally) did I heard and saw a man not only worth listening to, but an important voice in the greater poetry community. We should all be lucky enough to hear his words in person, but if you can’t, find and buy this book.

The first thing you are taught as a Black boy

is that being vulnerable

is a sin

A straight-backed book of insight and thoughtfulness, Donney succeeds most when the gloves come off and the famous “southern bite” comes in. Sometimes I’m Tired Like an Old Church Lady… is a perfect example. It feels more like the advice you were waiting on than a poem, until you have finished. Then you realize what the poem, and thereby the poet, has just taught you.

Between social justice and personal struggle are poems, books, and stories like these, and Rose does so with honesty, integrity, and the ability to give real experiences and  without


Smile harder

cry in your casket

make your teeth a place mat

they will grind the dirt from their feet

into your smile most times

There are times that certain books or poems are “just right for the time.” This book is very vital right now. For our country, for our selves, for our communities, and for the future. For all of us. A book full of southern charm and take-no-shit-reality, this is a collection worthy of Donney Rose and 2015

Thomas Monson (a stuffed shirt who is normally a schmuck, but the sun shines on a dog’s ass some days) said, “The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it.”  This is a book of poems that LIVES, right now. A collection we could, and should, all be learning from, so we can all prepare for the future.


Purchase your copy of Crying Buck at