ONE OF PUBLISHERS WEEKLY'S TOP 10 POETRY BOOKS OF FALL 2017
NPR'S MOST ANTICIPATED POETRY BOOKS OF 2017
A striking, full-length debut collection from Virgin Islands-born poet Nicole Sealey
The existential magnitude, deep intellect, and playful subversion of St. Thomas-born, Florida-raised poet Nicole Sealey’s work is restless in its empathic, succinct examination and lucid awareness of what it means to be human.
The ranging scope of inquiry undertaken in Ordinary Beast—at times philosophical, emotional, and experiential—is evident in each thrilling twist of image by the poet. In brilliant, often ironic lines that move from meditation to matter of fact in a single beat, Sealey’s voice is always awake to the natural world, to the pain and punishment of existence, to the origins and demises of humanity. Exploring notions of race, sexuality, gender, myth, history, and embodiment with profound understanding, Sealey’s is a poetry that refuses to turn a blind eye or deny. It is a poetry of daunting knowledge.
About the Author
Born in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and raised in Apopka, Florida, Nicole Sealey is the author of The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named, winner of the 2015 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. Her other honors include an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from The American Poetry Review, a Daniel Varoujan Award and the Poetry International Prize, as well as fellowships from CantoMundo, Cave Canem, MacDowell Colony and the Poetry Project. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and elsewhere. Nicole holds an MLA in Africana Studies from the University of South Florida and an MFA in creative writing from New York University. She is the Executive Director at Cave Canem Foundation.
“In this brilliant debut, clarity is ushered through form, strutting its way into life, into our lives.”
— Claudia Rankine
“The sorceress Sealey...serves up an impossible cento that punches the daylight from your chest. Nothing ordinary here. But beast? Yeah, that’s it. This thing has teeth.”
— Patricia Smith
“A stunning cento, an erasure, and a defense serve, together, as ars poetica for Nicole Sealey’s remarkable debut collection.”
— Natasha Trethewey