WINNER: 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award
2017 Los Angeles Times Book Prize
2018 NAACP Image Award
2018 Black Caucus /American Library Assn.
Best Poetry Award
FINALIST: 2018 Pulitzer Prize
Neustadt International Prize in Literature
This compelling collection confronts the tyranny against the black male body and the tenacious grief of the mothers of the “dark magicians.” Dynamic sequences, which include a chronicle of the devastating murder of Emmett Till, serve as a backdrop for present-day racial calamities and calls for resistance. With a definitive embrace of elaborate and eloquent language— “her gorgeous fallen son a horrid hidden / rot. Her tiny hand starts crushing roses—one by one / by one she wrecks the casket’s spray. It’s how she / mourns—a mother, still, despite the roar of thorns”— and a sharpened focus on incidents of national mayhem and mourning, this is an envisioning, re-envisioning and ultimate reinvention of the role of witness with an incendiary fusion of forms, including prose poems, ghazals, sestinas, and sonnets. This phenomenal book addresses what is frightening, and what is revelatory, about history.
Praise foR Incendiary Art
— Marlon James