Firstly, she’s incredibly kind, but also insanely talented. I’ve read her work for myself and taught a writing class to high school students using “Behind The Mountains,” and her talent and love for Haiti blows me away. I especially love how her writing recalls the island (Hispaniola) and its history in a way that feels more immediate than a memory.
I’ve watched/heard many of Jericho Brown’s speeches, including his interview with Krista Tippett, and I just love how he speaks about poetry and gives the art such an essential role in society. It’s done so authentically and effortlessly. I haven’t read “Tradition” yet (I know!), but I’ve read “The New Testament” and poems available online – I’m a fan. I love his use of language; how he plays a poem.
Friday Black – Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Nana wrote a powerful book that is reflective of how America views and treats black people, but it’s imaginative and full of life. Though, at times, bloody, dark, and brutal, some of the stories are beautiful and bring you home. Nana and I are also from the same town and attended Syracuse University, so he’s special.
Aja Monet – My Mother Was A Freedom Fighter
Aja’s fight for justice AND creativity is admirable, and I fell in love with her sense of purpose while reading “My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter.” I found “birth, mark” especially touching, but the entire body of work is full of joy, fight, and demands that we fight for a world where marginalized communities can stand!
How We Fight for Our Lives is… wow. Saeed opens up with a poem –an elegy – that welcomes you in and surprises you at the end of each line, and then there’s the memoir: beautifully written in a way that says, every word in this book earned its place on the page. The book holds a lot of pain, and there are moments when I was shaken, but I understood his fight, and I found myself flooded with tears when I got to that last page.
Flose Boursiquot is a Haitian-born poet and writer. Her work has appeared in Ghost City Review, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, HuffPost, on Blavity, and in 2017, BET named Flose one of its millennial poets to watch. The Malala Foundation’s Assembly Platform featured Flose’s story and spoken word poem “March On Sister” in their September 2018 issue. Connect with Flose via http://www.letitflose.com or on Twitter @letitflosepoet.