Smart, grounded, and lyrical, Evie Shockley’s the new black integrates powerful ideas about “blackness,” past and present, through the medium of beautifully crafted verse. the new black sees our racial past inevitably shaping our contemporary moment, but struggles to remember and reckon with the impact of generational shifts: what seemed impossible to people not many years ago—for example, the election of an African American president—will have always been a part of the world of children born in the new millennium. All of the poems here, whether sonnet, mesostic, or deconstructed blues, exhibit a formal flair. They speak to the changes we have experienced as a society in the last few decades—changes that often challenge our past strategies for resisting racism and, for African Americans, ways of relating to one another. The poems embrace a formal ambiguity that echoes the uncertainty these shifts produce, while reveling in language play that enables readers to “laugh to keep from crying.” They move through nostalgia, even as they insist on being alive to the present and point longingly towards possible futures.
Evie gives an overview of the book:
dear opaque policy,
transparency is the new this
is for your own good. covering
your ears is a sound defense.
the status quo never looked
so good. goods. and servers.
ye gods! the national security
blanket is a crazy quilt. award
awash aweigh awol. a globe
warming up to consumption.
he’s got the whole world in
his lands. friends. ends. trust
me. must we? survey says:
property. and life, and liberty,
but only if you’re not it. tag.
— from “the farewell letters”
Evie Shockley is the author of two books of poetry, the new black (Wesleyan UP, 2011) and a half-red sea (Carolina Wren Press, 2006), and two chapbooks, 31 words * prose poems (Belladonna* Books, 2007) and The Gorgon...
In a half-red sea, Evie Shockley’s first full-length collection of poetry, the poet presents public and private histories through a series of narratives, lyrical monologues, fantastic episodes, and...
"There is much to be admired in this collection of poems. In addition to the sonnet-ballad form, she employs the pantoum and the acrostic in very smooth and revealing ways. As well, Shockley’s Harryette...