Not Without Our Laughter: Poems of Humor, Joy & Sexuality (Paperback)
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Poetry. African & African American Studies. The Black Ladies Brunch Collective's poetry anthology, NOT WITHOUT OUR LAUGHTER, (Mason Jar Press, 2017) is a collection of humorous and joyful poems, riffing on Langston Hughes's novel Not Without Laughter. It explores topics of family, work, love and sexuality. The women of BLBC believe, like Hughes, that even in these currently tense racial times, laughter and the celebration of life is crucial. Historically, it is what African Americans have done and will continue to do, no matter what challenges face them.
About the Author
Saida Agostini is a queer Afro-Guyanese poet and Cave Canem graduate fellow. Her work has been published in the Black Ladies Brunch Collective's anthology, Not Without Our Laughter, the Baltimore Sun, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, the Delaware Poetry Review, pluck! - The Affrilachian Journal of Arts and Culture, TORCH Literary Arts, among others. She is currently working on her first collection, uprisings in a state of joy. Most recently she read her work on the Ulster BBC, and was featured at the Ormston House in Limerick, Ireland. Anya Creightney, a Cave Canem fellow, is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico with roots in Kingston and Copenhagen. A poet, editor and coordinator, she is a Programs Specialist at the Poetry & Literature Center in the Library of Congress. Poet and journalist celeste doaks is the author of Cornrows and Cornfields, Wrecking Ball Press, UK. Cornrows was listed as one of the “Ten Best Books of 2015” by Beltway Quarterly Poetry. doaks is a 2015 Pushcart Prize nominee; her most recent poetry can be found in Chicago Quarterly Review, and in the Rabbit Ears: TV poems anthology edited by Joel Allegretti. Doaks received her MFA degree from North Carolina State University, and is currently teaching creative writing at Morgan State University. You can find her on Twitter @thedoaksgirl Teri Ellen Cross Davis is a Cave Canem fellow and has attended the Soul Mountain Writer’s Retreat, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She is on the Advisory Committee for the biennial Split This Rock Festival and has been a semifinalist judge for the NEA’s Poetry Out Loud. Her work can be read in Bum Rush The Page: A Def Poetry Jam, Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem's First Decade, Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC; and the following journals: Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Gargoyle, Natural Bridge, Torch, Poet Lore and The North American Review. Her first collection Haint is published by Gival Press, and is the Poetry Awardee for the 2017 Ohioana Book Awards. Recently she has read on WAMU 88.5 The Kojo Nnamdi Show and at the Hay Festival Kells in Ireland. She lives in Silver Spring, MD. More can be read about Teri at www.poetsandparents.com. Tafisha A. Edwards is the author of THE BLOODLET, winner of Phantom Books’ 2016 Breitling Chapbook Prize. Her work has appeared in The Offing, PHANTOM, Bodega Magazine, The Atlas Review, The Little Patuxent Review, and other print and online publications. She is the Assistant Poetry Editor for Gigantic Sequins, a graduate of the University of Maryland’s Jiminéz-Porter Writers’ House, a Cave Canem Graduate fellow, and a former educator with the American Poetry Museum. She is the recipient of a Zoland Poetry Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center and has received scholarships to The Juniper Summer Writing Institute, The Minnesota Northwoods Writers’ Conference and other writing workshops and conferences. Katy Richey’s work has appeared in Rattle, Cincinnati Review, RHINO, The Offing and other journals. She received an honorable mention for the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was a finalist for Tubelo Press Snowbound Chapbook Poetry Award. She has received fellowships from The Cave Canem Foundation, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Callaloo Creative Writing Workshops and is the recipient of a Fine Arts Work Center Walker Scholarship for Writers of Color and a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award. She hosts the Sunday Kind of Love reading series open mic at Busboys and Poets in Washington D.C., sponsored by Split This Rock Festival
The Black Ladies’ Brunch Collective cooks up some hot truth in this house party of a book. We get boogaloo and peas, we even get food in our panties. These poems are the wild that comes just before the cops bust up the party! We bleed glitter and ride a Harley. Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth hook up while Prince goes commando. This party offers therapy too. We do yoga and then burn the yoga mat! These poems heal and believe. They argue and sweat with fever. These poems also survive—just like the amazing women who wrote them. But mostly, these poems laugh—the kind of laughter that keeps us all alive.
—Joseph Ross, author of ACHE
Not Without Our Laughter is brilliantly addictive. A collection of talented voices that lyrically blends poems full of passion, pain and perseverance in an honest and sobering way. Not Without Our Laughter offers a rare perspective with insight we all need to experience.
—D Watkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Beast Side and The Cook Up
In Not Without Our Laughter, six innovative poets have created a collection that sings and laments, inspires and defies and, above all, celebrates. These poems evoke laughter, sadness, passion and pride through lyrical explorations of what is desired and what is forbidden, what threatens and what helps us endure. Readers will find their own lives reflected here and will return to this collection often to access the joy, honesty and panache it so richly conveys.
Come, celebrate with me these necessary poems of vulnerability and connection, sex and survival, humor and history.
—Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon
In body-splitting, heart-baring poems, Not Without Our Laughter rocks you nearly sane. The Black Ladies Lunch Collective spill it hard and beautiful: imagine all this machinery just to love. As celeste doaks says: We find divinity wherever the hell we want.
—Jan Beatty, Jackknife: New and Selected Poems, University of Pittsburgh Press
The first line of the first poem sets the firecracker tone for this book: “I am going out into the world resolved to act bugaloo and bug-eyed.” But it’s the title of that poem—Leaving the House—tells you all you need to know: no more privacy, no more hiding, no more hush. I wasn't sure what these poets were going to say page to page, but it was clear from the start they’d say it as if running down a big hill, out of breath and eager to take us some place new. The blend of the one and the many, of singular voices and overlapping experiences, gives Not Without Our Laughter the feel of something welded or woven, and stronger for it. This was the most exciting tag team poetry match against silence I’ve ever been to. So I’m going to use a dirty word now—this book is fun.