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suddenly we (Hardback)

P&S History > Humanities > Poetry

Imprint: Wesleyan University Press
Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
Pages: 112
Illustrations: 3 b&w photos
ISBN: 9780819500236
Published: 7th March 2023
Casemate UK Academic



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Evie Shockley's new poems invite us to dream - and work - toward a more capacious "we"


In her new poetry collection, Evie Shockley mobilizes visual art, sound, and multilayered language to chart routes towards openings for the collective dreaming of a more capacious "we." How do we navigate between the urgency of our own becoming and the imperative insight that whoever we are, we are in relation to each other? Beginning with the visionary art of Black women like Alison Saar and Alma Thomas, Shockley's poems draw and forge a widening constellation of connections that help make visible the interdependence of everyone and everything on Earth.




i am black, comely,

a girl on the cusp of desire.

my dangling toes take the rest

the rest of my body refuses. spine upright,

my pose proposes anticipation. i poise

in copper-colored tension, intent on

manifesting my soul in the discouraging world.


under the rough eyes of others, i stiffen.


if i must be hard, it will be as a tree, alive

with change. inside me, a love of beauty rises

like sap, sprouts from my scalp

and stretches forth. i send out my song, an aria

blue and feathered, and grow toward it,

choirs bare, but soon to bud. i am

black and becoming.


- after Alison Saar's Blue Bird

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