Ghost in a Black Girl's Throat

Ghost in a Black Girl's Throat

by Khalisa Rae
Ghost in a Black Girl's Throat

Ghost in a Black Girl's Throat

by Khalisa Rae


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"Khalisa Rae’s Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat is like a newborn scream that’s been held in for eons. Sharp, strong, unapologetic, beautiful, and angry, the writing in this collection is a celebration of language and rhythm, and the words on the page run like the blood from a wound caused by racism. . . . this collection is not just one all fans of poetry should read; it’s one we should be assigning in schools."—Gabino Iglesias, PANK Magazine

What happens when a Midwestern girl migrates to a haunted Southern town, whose river is a graveyard, whose streets bear the names of Southern slave owners? How can she build a home where Confederate symbols strategically stand in the center of town? Can she sage the chilling truths of her ancestors? What will she do to cope with the traumatizing ghostliness of the present-day South?

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. Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat examines the haunting feeling of facing past demons while grappling with sexism, racism, and bigotry. They are all present: ancestral ghosts, societal ghosts, and spiritual, internal hauntings. This book calls out for women to speak their truth in hopes of settling the ghosts or at least being at peace with them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597098854
Publisher: Red Hen Press
Publication date: 04/12/2021
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Khalisa Rae is a poet, queer rights activist, journalist, and educator in Durham, North Carolina, and a graduate of the Queens UniversityMFA program. Her chapbook, Real Girls Have Real Problems, was published in 2012, and her recent work has been seen in PANK, Sundog Lit, Crab Fat, Damaged Goods Press, Red Room Poetry’s New Shoots poetry anthology, Glass Poetry, TERSE., Luna Luna, The Hellebore, Homology Lit, Dancing Bear Books: WOMXN Anthology, Tishman Review, and Obsidian, among others. She was a Furious Flower Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize finalist and a winner of the Fem Lit Magazine Contest, Voicemail Poetry Contest, White Stag Publishing Contest, and Bright Wings Poetry Contest. She is Managing Equity and Inclusion Editor of Carve Magazine and Consulting Poetry Editor for Kissing Dynamite. Unlearning Eden is forthcoming from White Stag Publishing in Summer 2021. She is currently the Writing Center Director at Shaw Universityand the newest writer for NBC-BLK and Black Girl Nerds.

Table of Contents


Ghost in a Black Girl's Throat 15

Body Apology 18

Outside the Canon: Words to Never Use 19

Southern Foreclosures 20

Home-Going Celebration 22

Exit Speech 23

Black Boy Painted Butterfly 26

Collaring Our Native Tongues 27

Mad. Black. Bird. 28

Van Gogh Paints a Hymn 30

Circus Acts: No More Black Girl Magic 31

Making Counterfeit Again 33

American Made 34

Assembly Required for Assimilation 36

Wind and Water

Wind Dance 41

Cumulus Clouds 42

Garden Girl Heartbreak 43

Into the Woods 44

Full Moon to Monday 46

All Hallowed Eve 48

Livestock 49

Tea Party at the Cemetery 50

Morning Glory 52

Heirloom 54

Mind of Missing Parts 55

Boil, Burn, Salve 57

Begging the Ground for Flames 59

Wind Watching 60

Mackerel 61

Shucking Oysters 63

Emergence 65

Earth and Spirit

Moving Mind 69

Mermaids and Ghost Ships 70

Mahalia Sings to Freedom 71

Buzzwords and Banned Books 73

Epilogue for Banned Books 75

Pastoral Blues 77

Horticulture 78

The Dance Hall of My Mother's Womb 79

Bone Collector 80

Before I Speak to the Matriarchs 81

Skyscraper Women 82

Southern Georgia Libretto I 83

Reclaiming our Phenomenal Bones 86

Southern Louisiana Libretto II 88

Even After the Dust Settles 90

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