Selected by Eugene Gloria as a winner of the National Poetry Series - an extended meditation on both the terror and the persistent beauty of black life in modernity
The debut collection from a 2021 Whiting Award and Guggenheim Fellow recipient whose “astounding, dolorous, rejoicing voice is indispensable” (Tracy K. Smith)
The Sobbing School
, Joshua Bennett’s mesmerizing debut collection of poetry, presents songs for the living and the dead that destabilize and de-familiarize representations of black history and contemporary black experience. What animates these poems is a desire to assert life, and interiority
, where there is said to be none. Figures as widely divergent as Bobby Brown, Martin Heidegger, and the 19th-century performance artist Henry Box Brown, as well as Bennett’s own family and childhood best friends, appear and are placed in conversation in order to show that there is always a world beyond what we are socialized to see value in, always alternative ways of thinking about relation that explode easy binaries.