The Black Maria (Paperback)
Aracelis Girmay was the first contemporary poet I ever fell in love with, and in her newest collection she reaffirms that love tenfold. No one's sight is more generous or precise than Girmay's, be it turned inward to the workings of her own heart or outward to the suffering of others across continents and through time. At once historical testimony, multi-level persona piece, personal excavation, and sharp social commentary, The Black Maria weaves together centuries of seemingly disparate kinds of pain, joy, loss, and love with effortless grace. The result is an undeniably vital and panoramic view of the trials and triumphs of being alive.
-- Haley— From Haley P. Staff Picks
Praise for Aracelis Girmay: " Girmay's] every loss--she calls them estrangements--is a yearning for connection across time and place; her every fragment is a bulwark against ruin." --O, The Oprah Magazine Taking its name from the moon's dark plains, misidentified as seas by early astronomers, the black maria investigates African diasporic histories, the consequences of racism within American culture, and the question of human identity. Central to this project is a desire to recognize the lives of Eritrean refugees who have been made invisible by years of immigration crisis, refugee status, exile, and resulting statelessness. The recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award for Poetry, Girmay's newest collection elegizes and celebrates life, while wrestling with the humanistic notion of seeing beyond: seeing violence, seeing grace, and seeing each other better. "to the sea" great storage house, history
on which we rode, we touched
the brief pulse of your fluttering
pages, spelled with salt & life,
your rage, your indifference
your gentleness washing our feet,
all of you going on
whether or not we live,
to you we bring our carnations
yellow & pink, how they float
like bright sentences atop
your memory's dark hair Aracelis Girmay is the author of three poetry collections, the black maria; Kingdom Animalia, which won the Isabella Gardner Award and was a finalist for the NBCC Award; and Teeth. The recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award, she has received grants and fellowships from the Jerome, Cave Canem, and Watson foundations, as well as Civitella Ranieri and the NEA. She currently teaches at Hampshire College's School for Interdisciplinary Arts and in Drew University's low residency MFA program. Originally from Santa Ana, California, she splits her time between New York and Amherst, Massachusetts.
About the Author
Aracelis Girmay is the winner of a 2015 Whiting Award for Poetry. She is the author of three poetry collections: the black maria (BOA Editions, 2016); Kingdom Animalia (BOA Editions, 2011), which won the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Teeth (Curbstone, 2007). She is also the author/illustrator of the collage-based picture book changing, changing (Braziller, 2005). Most recently, Girmay's poetry and essays have been published in Granta, Black Renaissance Noire, and PEN America, among other places. She has received grants and fellowships from the Jerome, Cave Canem, and Watson foundations, as well as Civitella Ranieri and the NEA. She is on the faculty of Hampshire College's School for Interdisciplinary Arts and Drew University's low residency M.F.A. program. Originally from Santa Ana, California, she splits her time between New York and Amherst, Massachusetts.