“Deonte Osayande's Circus is a book of mythic power and sensational heft—the poems here demand your attention and earn it through imaginative leaps and turns that keep you guessing and reading, wanting the next poem and the news. The beauty of this book is its ability to engage us over the rough and enticing terrain that is art and beauty, transformed through grief and the tightrope act of being black in America. It's a fabulous collection, one that takes on gravity and tames it, lighting burdens on fire with its powerful storytelling.”
—Allison Joseph, author of Confessions of a Barefaced Woman
“Deonte Osayande is not only a fire breather in life’s circus but a firebrand burning his words down to ashes so that they rise as the fabled phoenix to inspire us to carry on even in the most political dark times. He is an arsonist tossing our assumptions, our misconceptions, our biases, our fears, our prejudice, and our personal relationships, into the incendiary furnaces of his poems, not to destroy but transform our lives. As Wallace Stevens wrote, So in me come flinging forms, flames, and the flakes of flames, and so Osayande does the same in his book Circus: My ashtray mouth burns/. . . . Without hell fire in my mouth/my faith stays frozen, forgotten. Each of us becomes the clown, the juggler, the tightrope walker, the animal tamer, in the three-ring circus of our lives under this ragged big top of culture and society. We should all want a ticket to Osayande’s Circus.”
─Walter Bargen, First Poet Laureate of Missouri, author of Too Quick for the Living
Deonte Osayande is a writer from Detroit, Michigan. His nonfiction and poetry have been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology, New Poetry from the Midwest, and the Pushcart Prize. He has represented Detroit at multiple National Poetry Slam competitions. He's currently a professor of English at Wayne County Community College. His books include Class (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2017) and the forthcoming Circus (Brick Mantel Books, 2018).
A provocative meditation on race, Claudia Rankine's long-awaited follow up to her groundbreaking book Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric.
Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person's ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named "post-race" society.