Bright: A Memoir

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, United States on 2022-05-09 03:31Z by Steven

Bright: A Memoir

Sarabande Books
2022-08-09
200 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1946448927

Kiki Petrosino, Professor of Poetry
University of Virginia

Bright: A Memoir, the first full-length essay collection from acclaimed poet Kiki Petrosino, is a work of lyric nonfiction, offering glimpses of a life lived between cultural worlds. “Bright,” a slang term used to describe light-skinned people of interracial American ancestry, becomes the starting point for an extended meditation on the author’s upbringing in a mixed Black and Italian American family. Alternating moments of memoir, archival research, close reading and reverie, this work contemplates the enduring, deeply personal legacies of enslavement and racial discrimination in America. Situated at the luminous crossroads where public and private histories collide, Bright asks important questions about love, heritage, identity and creativity.

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White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Poetry, United States, Virginia on 2022-03-29 01:06Z by Steven

White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia

Sarabande Books
2020-05-05
112 pages
5.3 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
Paperback ISBN: 978-1946448545

Kiki Petrosino, Professor of Poetry
University of Virginia

  • Winner of the 2021 UNT Rilke Prize
  • Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award Nominee
  • Library of Virginia Literary Awards Finalist
  • Winner of the 2021 Spalding Prize for the Promotion of Peace and Justice

In her fourth full-length book, White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia, Kiki Petrosino turns her gaze to Virginia, where she digs into her genealogical and intellectual roots, while contemplating the knotty legacies of slavery and discrimination in the Upper South. From a stunning double crown sonnet, to erasure poetry contained within DNA testing results, the poems in this collection are as wide-ranging in form as they are bountiful in wordplay and truth. In her poem “The Shop at Monticello,” she writes: “I’m a black body in this Commonwealth, which turned black bodies/ into money. Now, I have money to spend on little trinkets to remind me/ of this fact. I’m a money machine & my body constitutes the common wealth.” Speaking to history, loss, and injustice with wisdom, innovation, and a scientific determination to find the poetic truth, White Blood plants Petrosino’s name ever more firmly in the contemporary canon.

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Fort Red Border

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Poetry on 2010-02-02 02:50Z by Steven

Fort Red Border

Sarabande Books
2009-08-01
88 pages
Trim: 9 x 6
Paper ISBN: 978-1-932511-74-1

Kiki Petrosino, Professor of Poetry
University of Virginia

Kiki Petrosino has audacity to spare. She devotes the entire first section of her debut collection of poems to a putative affair the speaker is conducting with an imaginary Robert Redford. In the poems, Redford is solicitous of the speaker, as well as curious about her “difference,” probing her about the various meanings of “natural” when applied to her African-American hair. The poems’ hilarity and poignancy issue from the speaker’s distance from, and yearning toward, the center of mainstream culture. Redford serves as ideal partner, the embodiment of American masculinity––but there is also an odd tenderness and actuality to the relationship. In these poems Petrosino is fearless, proceeding from the recognizable terrain of daily life’s emotions rather than seeking refuge in the cool of mere obscurity. Petrosino’s poems scout a new path, one that discovers a believably fierce, vivid, feeling self.

YOU HAVE MADE A CAREER OF NOT LISTENING

God has spider skin and lives in secret trees. I have stood beside you, saying this, as you reach into the cupboard for another stack of dry noodles. You eat them with the dead still on, with the sticky deadness still on, because you always throw out the foil package of seasoning. So the noodle brick just loosens, slowly, in a flat brine of city water, just squats and spreads in the center of the frying pan like a washed-up boxer or a stranger’s face disappearing into morphine. After the fight the boxer wraps a towel around his hips and walks into his manager’s office. Some boys wipe fifty bucks’ worth of sweat from the ring, then head to the all-night diner smelling like stacks of thumbs. Meanwhile, dollars bills are blooming in the stranger’s lonely raincoat pocket. It is 5:00 a.m. There are places you will never go with me, no matter how many times you ask, or how hard you eat.

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