Black Jelly: Poems by Melanie Maria Goodreaux; Photos by Nikki Johnson

Black Jelly: Poems by Melanie Maria Goodreaux; Photos by Nikki Johnson

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Black Jelly is chicken skin, the back of a man's neck, bones, bulge, empty beds, and God. It is a collection of poems by Melanie Maria Goodreaux with photographs by Nikki Johnson being published by Fly By Night Press, a subsidiary of Gathering of the Tribes.

Black Jelly presents a roaming prodigal woman tossed from a traditional sense of home who wrestles with fitting into the tidy demands of womanhood. Goodreaux is both celebratory and pained by the struggle — giving a womanist' lens with an honest and inward female dialogue on body, bulge, singleness, childlessness, and a cavalcade of characters that carry her through the long arc of life from kitchens to nightclubs to the realities of love, relationship, and eroticism. Black Jelly is memory-specific while offering striking commentary on the "formlessness" of being a woman. It is a reflective and relatable work that explores the messiness of tremendous sadness while also celebrating cultural roots, spiritualism, love, lust, freedom, imperfection, and forgiveness.

Black Jelly is the first solo book of poetry by Melanie Maria Goodreaux merged with personal photos and select photography of Nikki Johnson. Melanie Maria's work is raw, messy, musical, honest, and emotionally rich while leaving behind all sentimentality. Nikki Johnson's photographic style presents compelling people surrounded by personal objects while mastering visions of ‘melancholy and mystery.’

Both artists bask in African-American eccentricities while mixing emblems of southern roots, religiosity, sex, death, and transformation. The two bring their southern roots to the work.  

Both women moved to New York City, lived in the East Village, and met Fly By Night Publisher, the legendary Steve Cannon of A Gathering of the Tribes, called the "Father of the Lower East Side Arts movement" by the New York Times. Steve introduced the two, and history was made. Nikki Johnson has been a documentarian of poet and playwright Melanie Maria Goodreaux ever since, representing 20 years of New York City living, from the East Village to Harlem — with all the art and malaise in between presented in Black Jelly.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781732126053
Publisher: Melanie Maria Goodreaux
Publication date: 01/25/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 758,931
File size: 45 MB
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Table of Contents


1. Jumping off the Porch

  • Free Falling Fallopian
  • Two Cents Offering
  • Incarnation of Buttery Bread
  • Hymns of Haphazard Home
  • Thirsty Cold Lady
  • Pretending
  • Belonging
  • Queen of Swerve

2. Split Ends

  • Witch to Me
  • Thank You For Trying
  • Escalator
  • Black Munstah
  • Slob and Tears
  • Healing Looks Like A Mess

3. Jive Turkeys and Microwaved Bitches

  • Pelicans Handle Their Glasses
  • Redboned Hot Comb
  • Jungle-Green Poet Verses Well-Seasoned Poet
  • Thank You for Not Being an Uppity Negro
  • Two More Cents

4. Kin Kink Conk

  • Relations
  • My Pudenda Is Not a Mother
  • Two Cents/Promised Theological Essay
  • Brother in Three Bites
  • Parrain’s Prayer
  • Daddy
  • Mamere Introjection
  • Migration of Mothership Birds
  • Michael, the Black Cat
  • Mississippi Queen of Darkness

5. Good Gravy and Onions

  • Naked House
  • Rust and Lust
  • Bonding Over Bird Bones
  • We Real Deal Cool
  • Easy
  • BBQ Smooth at the Rodeo
  • The Intimate America of Obama Inaugural Day II

6. Gas Valves

  • Gas Valve In My Soul
  • For Me, It Is the Teeth
  • Fireflies, An Easy Birth

Photography Index

About the Artists


Customer Reviews