"If storytelling in the griot’s hands is a form of resistance, then Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat is a form of control. Khalisa Rae’s poetics are unbreakable glass knives that own uncharted and unmarked underground burrows, providing refuge for righteous indignation.
Unapologetic, slippery, but cautious language weaves inside, over, and under the remnants of sacrifice and atonement. We recoil to remember that our ancestral mothers once had a voice and now our voices are our bodies . . . 'And that’s what they will come / for first—the throat.'
Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat pursues agency, selfhood, and disturbing meditations on inhumanity. These poems deliver truth and rage with the precision of a visionary heart and the rancid tears of a poisoned ghost.
This powerful collection bears witness to the fraught overlap between women’s bodies and minds. Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat reframes the Black body politic as sacrament, benediction, delicacy, and tenderness.
These verses are timeless refrains sizzling on parched tongues. All praises for the testament of these poems that bring a full communion of blessed assurances to wise women daring oceans to erase our footprints and to wild girls chasing winds that steal the scent of herstory." —Jaki Shelton Green, author of I Want to Undie You
"Ghosts in a Black Girl’s Throat resurrects the ancestral spirits of the not-so-distant past. In the poems of Khalisa Rae, ghosts become guardians—protectors of black healing, black truth, and black power. They live in the boldness of 'Counterfeit,' as chants that proclaim, 'This black be authentic. This black be original. This melanated music be off the market.' They live in the graces of 'Body Apology,' as roots that require nurture—bodies to be 'planted,' not 'plucked.' They live in the lands of 'Our Pastoral Blues'—stolen, appropriated, 'broken' but 'locked in formation, weaving.'
Our hauntings, our ghosts, our pain—the deepest of hues, heavy and harrowing—live as we do in the here and now, awaiting rest. Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat honors the dead as the living, speaking new life into all that weighs on black women—by freeing the voices of those who have been silenced, bringing peace to the restless who are powerless no more." —Denise Nichole Andrews, Editor in Chief, The Hellebore Press, and Founder, HUES Foundation
"Rae considers the intersection of history and modernity in the American South in her provocative debut. Readers will be taken by the sometimes dangerous world Rae conjures." —Publishers Weekly
"The title of this blew me away instantly. For people who may struggle with poetry, Rae’s gift of using words to visualize the history of trauma that Black womanhood entails will leave a lasting impression on you. Rae takes readers on a journey on the different issues, conversations and roadblocks that Black women encounter throughout their lives." —Book Riot
"Khalisa Rae is one of those electrifying speakers you hear about. There’s just something riveting about her work on and off the page." —The Poetry Question
"Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat, the stunning debut poetry collection by Khalisa Rae, captures the trauma and triumph of Black queer identities." —The Hellebore
"Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat is a heart-wrenching reconciliation and confrontation of the living, breathing ghosts that awaken Black women each day. This debut poetry collection summons multiple hauntings — ghosts of matriarchs that came before, those that were slain, and those that continue to speak to us, but also those horrors women of color strive to put to rest." —Southern Review of Books, Shade Literary Arts, Write or Die Tribe, and The Rumpus
"While some look to the past as a guide to prepare us for the future, Rae gives us that future and reminds us why it matters. This is not a dinner time read. This is not a bedtime story. This is biblical." —The Poetry Question
"A remarkable chronicle of agency and prophetic voice." —Yes Poetry
"In Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat, published by Red Hen Press last month, Khalisa Rae has written a haunting and holy gospel. At once a book of genesis and revelation, Rae’s full-length debut collection unveils white supremacy’s forging by fire of Black girls into circus, freak show, tightrope walker, stage performer, crazy. Rae does this through the lens of a Black woman who journeys from the Midwest to find a home in the American South, chronicling the inescapability of misogynoir’s violence." —The Rumpus
"Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat is a searing confrontation of the living and reconciliation with the ghosts that exist deep within Rae as she examines the racism, sexism and bigotry she is subjected to on a daily basis. The book calls out to women and asks them to speak on their experiences with their ghosts—ancestral spirits, internal hauntings and the ghosts that plague them in society." —The Root
"A fiercely vibrant offering reminiscent of Southern Gothic style, Khalisa Rae’s Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat takes an unflinching look at the racist legacy that undergirds the idyllic images of Southern domesticity, and explores the complicated relationship between home and the Black body – specifically, the Black Girl’s body – that is traumatized by slavery. This collection confronts us with the painful, enraging dilemma: Where can a Black Girl go when her home is the source of her trauma, when the architecture of the place, from foundation to furniture, stands as a monument to her oppression?" —Marías at Sampaguitas
"The expertly-crafted poems are mournful and simmering with unexpressed rage. They illustrate quiet resignation, peaceful protest, and grave desperation." —NewPages Blog Review
"Rae shows an incredible attention to form and design, her work structured around the five elements of Fire, Wind and Water, Earth and Spirit. Each element exhibits rage, elation, fear, and hope; each a kind of presence that builds up to a full and complete understanding of housing the ghost(s) one may venerate, invoke, or hope to understand." —EcoTheo Collective