... like a newborn scream that’s been held in for eons. Sharp, strong, unapologetic, beautiful, and angry, the writing in this collection is a celebration of language and rhythm, and the words on the page run like the blood from a wound caused by racism ... No poet exists in vacuum, but writing poetry that is at once personal and universal is no easy task. Rae does that here, and the result is a book that demands to be read with clenched fists and an open heart ... this collection is not just one all fans of poetry should read; it’s one we should be assigning in schools.
Through sharp, imagistic tension, Rae’s poems come alive ... These deeply felt poems become the channel through which the spirits of all who could not speak are heard ... Rae refuses to stay silent, recording the history of her people with beauty, intensity, and unflinching clarity. These are poems to listen to, to read again and again, and most importantly, to learn from.
Khalisa Rae has written a haunting and holy gospel. At once a book of genesis and revelation ... In a voice heavy with condemnation and verses slick with hood vernacular and wit, Rae unveils and shades America’s specter—the one spooking Black girls of all ages into silence while claiming its bootstrap dream is accessible to all ... Rae’s collection is a spiritual journey replete with trauma, pain, exaltation, transcendence ... A blueprint for how we can bobby pin pick off the handcuffs, free our larynxes and limbs from America’s ghosts, and deliver ourselves into a wild we call our own.