Poet Cicely Belle Blain’s debut collection, Burning Sugar, is a book that arrives ready and having already blazed a trail. Organized in three sections (“Place,” “Art,” and “Child”), this book is not merely an exploration of Black and queer and femme identity, or Black history, or even the lived experience of what it means to travel while Black. It is all of these things, but also a psychogeography, a portrait of being a child of diaspora. These poems perform difficult work, yet still make room for compassion and self-love. Each poem is a call for Black joy, despite the eternally harrowing nature of “the waters that brought us here” (“Northern California”).
Sachiko Murakami’s new collection, Render, is a complex poetic experiment in form, style, and narrative, weaving the poetics of trauma while grasping for objectivities to ground it into the concreteness of urban spaces. Throughout the book the poet borrows voices to elucidate the cycles of trauma that have scarred memory into illegibility.
“Poetry is transformative,” says Hustling Verse co-editor Justin Ducharme in the marketing material for the anthology of poetry by sex workers, “I believe this book can change minds.”
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s Tonguebreaker is a survival handbook for working class disabled femmes of colour. In the opening inscription to the collection of performance texts and poems, Piepzna-Samarasinha lays out a blueprint for a crip future for “all femmes in struggle.” She creates alternate futures through her words, even as she refers to the reality of living precariously as a disabled femme of colour.