An Introduction to Poetry

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

When I was approached to be the guest poetry editor for TriQuarterly’s 160th issue focusing on Black voices, I didn’t hesitate to say, “yes,” because I was, and am always excited to curate a wonderful reading experience, and, of course Black voices, Black experiences, Black stories need to be told. Was there a moment when I thought this necessity, TQ’s necessity to share Black voices was just because of the 2020 uprisings in support of Black people? Yes. I was very sensitive to this and still am. Ultimately, I decided that it was more beneficial, more powerful, more communal to guest edit and offer Black poets a space to be with each other than it was to obsess over TQ’s possible public “activism.” This all to say, I wanted to love on Black poets the best I know how—publishing their work, yes, obviously, but through publication, letting them know they are loved. So, so loved.

The poets in this issue are absolute fire. I feel beyond honored to have read these poems, to fall in love with them again and again and again with every read. Love, sex, family, anger, violence, joy, nature, home, history—there is nothing this issue does not touch. This issue is a reminder that Blackness isn’t linear; Blackness is bountiful and borderless.

Reader, I wish you the best. If you can make it all the way through this issue with your edges still intact, I applaud you—or envy you.

To the poets in this issue—thank you for your vulnerability, your trust, and your words. You are beautiful.