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Metta Sama’s New Book of Poetry!

BEI Senior Fellow, Metta Sama, has new book of poetry is now available for pre-order!

Swing at your own risk, structurally designed to swing from one subject to the next, from one lyric utterance to the next, concerns itself with unpacking myths of gender, race, sexuality and violence (specifically myths of the scary black man in the U.S. and the scary black woman in the U.S.). Through formal and structural experimentation, the poems attempt to look at the varying issues in the U.S. that can rob humans of opportunities to be radically humane.

Praise for Swing at your own risk:

Swing at your own risk is a sweet science of vulnerability, power, rage, and grace in kinetic arcs of brilliant muscle. Hungered, sensual, thicketed with image and nailed into history, Sáma’s poems are visionary manifestos of the body boiled in Black Woman bloodline. Herein lie all of risk’s synonyms—Danger, Jeopardy, Peril—the avenues this poet ransacked to emerge smoldering, lifted, and luminous. Dare to enter here—risk it all to emerge the same.

— Tyehimba Jess

what if the body is not/sacred ground begins this book of profound ethical and spiritual grappling. Written in a moment when violent white supremacy and heterosexist misogyny continue to be well documented but rarely interrupted and running on a constant loop, these poems push us to pause, reflect, always (Selah) ask, “whose body, indeed whose life gets to be holy?” Utterly surging with the generosity of precision, this writing demands and rewards attention. Search no more for the poet/ who knows absolute darkness is the light. She is here. Li-Young Lee says, “There’s eclipse, covering, and there’s apocalypse, uncovering.” And this book is, blessedly, a book of apocalypse.

— TC Tolbert

This haunting collection delves into the pleasures and erotics of the body, while also confronting the violence inflicted on the body by racism, patriarchy, religion, and the state. The poems are written in an avant-garde style, swinging across open compositions, lyric prose, and born-free verse. Throughout, Metta Sáma takes aesthetic and emotional risks to summon the embodied language of mourning and crave.

— Craig Santos Perez

The poems in Swing at your own risk risk risk. They bend toward and at meaning, history, word-purpose in a sometime-tragicomedy: the strike-out, the history of violence to black bodies. They come at language with a left hook and laugh. With gravity and careful takes, the poems address narrativity and colonizing language as they tangle and triumph. Taking on miscarriages of justice and of the body, they are assonant sticky, jaunt Bible stories as Hollywood movies, finger “dirty consonants of fingers”—the swerve and slide of words as words tell and complex us. Stunning.

— Hoa Nguyen