Refuse: Poems

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Product Details

$17.00  $15.81
University of Pittsburgh Press
Publish Date
5.8 X 8.8 X 0.3 inches | 0.3 pounds

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About the Author

Julian Randall is a Living Queer Black poet from Chicago. He has received fellowships from Callaloo, BOAAT, and The Watering Hole and was the 2015 National College Slam (CUPSI) Best Poet. Julian is the curator of Winter Tangerine Review's Lineage of Mirrors. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as New York Times Magazine, The Georgia Review, and Sixth Finch and in the anthologies Portrait in Blues, Nepantla, and New Poetry from the Midwest. He is a candidate for his MFA in Poetry at Ole Miss.


. By Julian Randall Sept. 2018. 102p. Univ. of Pittsburgh, paper, $17 (9780822965602). 811
In this stunning breakout collection, Randall writes with brilliance and verve about what it means to be
black, biracial, and queer, exploding delineations between the personal and political. The son of an African
American father and a Dominican mother, Randall obsesses over lineage and legacy, both biological ties
between people and the lives of exceptional individuals. In "Portrait of My Father as Sisyphus," the
speaker depicts a man who must care for his ailing mother and who, like Sisyphus, will bear this difficult
burden until one of them perishes. Elsewhere, Randall depicts the only black boy in a cold Nebraska
classroom who is subjected to "the savage lick of a whip as a means of explaining an entire history." A
native Chicagoan, Randall weaves President Obama throughout the book, drawing on shared experiences
of biracial black men, but closes the series at a vital crossroads with a Langston Hughes homage: "Obama
Speaks of Rivers but We Have Always Been on Different Shores." Throughout, Randall is a master of
simple, unexpectedly devastating lyrics
"sometimes being Biracial / is to have two half-filled gasses /
& die of thirst anyway." In its raw ferocity and scintillating intelligence, Randall's debut stands with
those of the best of new voices, including Saeed Jones, Danez Smith, and Rickey Laurentiis.

-- Diego Báez
Randall's work speaks to his refusal to abide by the expected boundaries and binaries set out for him. As we contemplate how to go forward in an America whose fault line runs deep, an immigrant son entrenched in the American experience, a black man owning his Dominican heritage, a sensualist uncowed by the magnetic poles of sexual appeals, a poet unabashedly forwards, interrogates, and illumines the fulsome measure of his 'I' . . . And no matter who would dare an argument, or seek to deny Randall's utter personhood, Refuse is an inscription that won't allow erasure.--Vievee Francis, Judge