A Garden of Black Joy: Global Poetry from the Edges of Liberation and Living

A Garden of Black Joy: Global Poetry from the Edges of Liberation and Living

by Black Table Arts, Keno Evol

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Overview

A Garden of Black Joy's anthology of poems, interviews, and essays spotlight black joy not only as a resource of abundance, but as a mode of self-defense. Poets from Berlin to Kiambu, Antwerp, London, and beyond provide a sketch of what black joy means in this moment and how to make use of it in the name of the future.

Featuring poets such as Julian Randall, Quintin Collins, Tara Betts, and Donte Collins, this collection invites voyages to new worlds and new languages to combat constraints and say yes to possibility. A Garden of Black Joy says insurrection starts with seeds, suggestions, and sweetness. With what is gathered here, we begin at a point of departure to grow another future through the literary arts.

This collection is a project of Black Table Arts, an emerging arts organization that conjures other worlds through black art by connecting communities and cultivating volume in black life. Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Black Table Arts puts black joy on legs and walks it into the living room of the future. It grows community through public programming such as the Black Lines Matter writing classroom at the Loft Literary Center and the Because Black Life Conference. 

 

Black Table Arts is an emerging arts organization that conjures other worlds through black art by connecting communities and cultivating volume in black life. Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Black Table Arts puts black joy on legs and walks it into the living room of the future. It grows community through public programming such as the Black Lines Matter writing classroom at the Loft Literary Center and the Because Black Life Conference.

 

A Garden of Black Joy, more than any collection I've read, made me understand and remix Margaret Walker's insistent plea that we write to and for our people. This work is liberation, not just liberatory, which means it dutifully holds our brokenness, our longing and our sensual satisfaction like a secret. Then it tells. And we listen because these Black poets chose us.” —Kiese Laymon

"These poems articulate the banal, the beautiful, the fantastic, and the everyday joy in the lives of black people around the world. In doing so, they evince a compelling vision of possibilities otherwise." —Shannon Gibney

"A Garden of Black Joy, curated by the unstoppable visionary Keno Evol, is exactly what this world needs now and into the future to keep bringing us back to the liberatory and fantastic visions of dystopia(s) and utopia(s). These have always been part of the radical Black prophetic tradition, as Evol so lovingly traces in his brilliant and moving introduction, a work of art in and of itself. The works in this anthology testify to the conditions of Black life, which, as articulated by Black writers such as Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison and so many more, have always demanded the poetics of citizenship of another world within, without, sideways, backwards, and forward from the ongoing (neo)colonial world of racial capitalism and other violences against Black bodies, spirits, and imaginations. This underground must simultaneously be lived within the individual, in the present, and intergenerationally, as a form of fugitivity, as contemporary poets such as Chaun Webster and Fred Moten and many more have and mapped. This living treasure, this changeling speculative work, A Garden of Black Joy, is manifestation of poetry as a deep ethics, a commitment to decolonialism (often beginning and ending with the body), and the infinitely sacred beauty of Black life on its own terms. Add this to the canon of the cosmos. It must be read, shared, taught, and lived by all of us who care about enacting a true moral commons. Those of us who are not Black, who benefit from the spoils of regimes of anti-Blackness, should find it our duty and our pleasure to encounter this powerful politics of beauty. Furious flowers!" — Sun Yung Shin, award-winning author of Unbearable Splendor

 

 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781634893107
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Publication date: 02/04/2020
Pages: 184
Sales rank: 775,006
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Keno Evol is a poet and scholar of insurgent possibilities. He is founder and director of Black Table Arts, home to the Because Black Life Conference taking place annually at universities across Minnesota. Evol won first place in the Sonia Sanchez-Langston Hughes Poetry Contest, and he has received the Verve grant, the Beyond the Pure fellowship, the Emerging Writers grant, and the Spoken Word Immersion fellowship for his work. He spotlights the literary arts and the black radical tradition as curriculum for the future.

Table of Contents

If We Want Human Beings Alive in the Future, We Might Want to Listen to Poets Keno Evol, Minneapolis, MN, US 1

Black Girl Artifacts Janel Cloyd, Bronx, NY, US 21

Today i am not sober at the asylum chapel Adedayo Agarau | Oyo State, Nigeria 23

Lillie Pearl Tells Joseph Bates Why They Need a New Five-Tier Mahogany Shelf Jermaine Thompson | Kansas City, MO, US 24

Ways of Pronouncing Rapper, 2017 Daniel B. Summerhill | Oakland, CA, US 26

Joy Melanie Henderson | Washington DC, US 28

Reasons why I prefer the Sims over anywhere you tryna be Dezireé a. brown | Flint, MI, US 29

In Which My Body Is a Prize, and I Am the Winner Dominique "Mo" Durden | Abington, MA, US 30

Joyful Joyful Emiley Charley | Bridgeport, CT, US 31

Miles in the Garden Latif Askia Ba | New York, NY, US 32

Walter Eric Lawing | Freeport, NY, US 33

Wild Flowers: Octavia E. Butler, Roberto Unger, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and James H. Cone Walk into a Garden Keno Evol | Minneapolis, MN, US 35

Reverie: Satchmo in Oil Evelyn Burroughs | Vista, CA, US 49

Butter & Honey Evyan Roberts | Silver Springs, MD, US 50

Fuller Park Pool Days at 331 W. 45th St. Lester Batiste | Minneapolis, MN, US 51

The Adult Author from Her North Carolina Perch Speaks for Her Six-Year-Old Self Grace C. Ocasio | Charlotte, NC, US 53

That Summer Guishard Revan | New York, NY, US 55

3am // A Sub-Altern Study Irene Vázquez | New Haven, CT, US 56

Hi Cotton Namir Fearce | Chicago, IL, US 58

Rake the springtime across my sheets Ivy Irihamye | Lexington, KY, US 59

Negrotopia #3 (Self Portrait as Heaven) Julian Randall | Oxford, MS, US 60

A Wedding, or What We Unlearned from Descartes Kemi Alabi | Chicago, IL, US 61

We Carry Kateema Lee | Germantown, MD, US 62

Kinda free Khaliah d. pitts | Philadelphia, PA, US 63

My Mama My Hood LaShawn Smith-Wright | Detroit, MI, US 65

Burning Inroads Maroula Blades | Berlin, Germany 67

Summer thoughts Lisa Marie Brimmer | Minneapolis, MN, US 68

In the Morning Lauren Fields | New York, NY, US 70

Treasure May Livere | Nairobi, Kenya 71

I learn time travel from Great Gramma Susie Ashley Davis | Philadelphia, PA, and Bay Area, CA, US 72

How to Conjure the Sun Maya Angelique | Philadelphia, PA, US 75

Do you see it? Maurisa Li-A-Ping | Providence, RI, US 76

An Ode to the Black Females' Group Chat Maya Williams | Portland, ME, US 77

Memorial Day Derek D. Brown | Los Angeles, CA, US 79

Twerking with Womanism on My Heart Mikey Cody Apollo | Milwaukee, WI, US 81

Picking Remains of a Song on a Body Mesioye Johnson | Oyo State, Ibadan, Nigeria 83

Body Still Grows Millicent Campbell | Houston, TX, US 85

Mini-fridge (for cassandra, madeline, and joya) Mia s. Willis | Charlotte, NC, US 86

Musings for My Blue Boy Mekleit Dix | Ladera Heights, CA, US 88

My daddy & 'nem Nicole Lawrence | Bronx, NY, US 90

Benediction Nome Emeka Patrick | Benin, Nigeria 92

Ode to the Pyre O'Phylia Smiley | Mobile, AL, US 93

Adopting Gardens as Experiments in Living and Black Resistance Keno Evol Interviews Lisa Marie Brimmer | Minneapolis, MN, US 94

Baptist Street social Paul singleton iii | Brooklyn, NY, US 102

Beacon Olivia Dorsey Peacock | Dallas, TX, US 103

Uplifting the burdens that weigh us down Shavonna Walker | Compton, CA, US 104

Drink Tara Betts | Chicago, IL, US 105

Afro-Futurist Vignettes Taylor Scott | Baton Rouge, LA, US 106

The Wind Kissed Keisha Salaam Green | Birmingham, AL, US 107

Super Bowl on Streamwood Drive Tayo Omisore | Gambrills, MD, US 108

Up Close Quartez Harris | Ohio, US 110

Sleep Tumelo Cassandra Twala | South Africa 112

Of the white tee Jorrell Watkins | Richmond, VA, US 113

Flipping a Table to End a Game of Spades Means I Love You Quintin Collins | Brookline, MA, US 115

Keep on survivin' Patience Imolele | London, England, UK 116

This Must Be the Place (Or, Walking Home, I am Reminded to Buy Champagne and Overalls) Alexus Erin | London, England, UK 117

Joy (at the curve of my son's dimple) Ricardo Lowe Jr. | Round Rock, TX, US 120

Nebula Salisa Grant | Washington, DC, US 121

Tear Praise Flowers | Essex, MD, US 123

The Elusive Joy of Elevation Victor A. Kwansa | Riverdale, MD, US 124

Strategies Valérie Déus | Minneapolis, MN, US 125

Siren Simone-Marie Feigenbaum | Brooklyn, NY, US 126

They thought water and didn't think to think of us Brittany Marshall | Baton Rouge, LA, US 127

Children of Lesser Gods Wálé Àyìnlá | Ogun, Nigeria 128

References 129

About the Authors 132

About Black Table Arts 147

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