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Poetry. African & African American Studies. "Incandescent in her brutality & neon truth, Aziza Barnes writes her way into an urgent Black, wide & beautiful in its scream. You will find lightning here. You will discover a bruised constellation exploding in a vast black body. Her syllables devour the sweet hurt & harm of their own naked limbs & offer us a generous feast. Aziza Barnes is her own revolution, her own galactic orbit & oracle. She writes, 'In my own home I attempt nightly/to eat my body alive.' These poems suck their teeth & know their own desperate bones. She grieves, 'i done walked with a name i couldn't shake & now i gone.' Shaped and forged in powerful consciousness, Aziza Barnes possesses a gifted voice that will always be needed and necessary. The poems of this extraordinary debut sweat themselves Black with imagination and desire. In I BE, BUT I AIN'T, Barnes achieves both freedom & forgiveness in an ache that persists infinitely in its intelligence & intuition. Listen to her: 'I am ungloved in a sabbath of spit.'"--Rachel Eliza Griffiths
"Aziza Barnes's I BE, BUT I AIN'T is a powerful debut that refuses to stroke you soft or angle to be your best friend. Instead, these poems revel in the menagerie of their own discomfort, and ours. Barnes's is a wild imagination and her poems an ill grammar akin to Jayne Cortez's percussive surrealism of the body. Want a lolly pop? You won't get that here. Her poetic is challenging and sophisticated, in a language that refuses to assuage."--Dawn Lundy Martin
June 01, 2016
6.9 X 0.3 X 8.9 inches | 0.4 pounds
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About the Author
Aziza Barnes is blk & alive. Aziza's first collection, i be but i ain't, was the 2015 winner of the Pament River Prize from YesYes Books. Barnes' play, BLKS, was produced in Chicago at the Steppenwolf Theater in 2017, and is to be produced at Wooly Mammoth Theater in DC and MCC Theater in New York in 2019. Barnes' is a cohost of the podcast, The Poetry Gods and is a Cave Canem fellow.