Hardback
August 3, 2021
9780813151151
English
112
36 illustrations
8.50 Inches (US)
5.50 Inches (US)
$29.95 USD
v2.1 Reference
Paperback / softback
August 3, 2021
9780813151168
English
112
36 illustrations
8.50 Inches (US)
5.50 Inches (US)
$19.95 USD
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
August 3, 2021
9780813151212
9780813151151
English
106
36 illustrations
8.50 Inches (US)
5.50 Inches (US)
$19.95 USD
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
August 3, 2021
9780813151335
9780813151151
English
106
36 illustrations
8.50 Inches (US)
5.50 Inches (US)
$19.95 USD
v2.1 Reference

Perfect Black

By Crystal Wilkinson
Illustrated by Ronald W. Davis, Foreword by Nikky Finney
Crystal Wilkinson combines a deep love for her rural roots with a passion for language and storytelling in this compelling collection of poetry and prose about girlhood, racism, and political awakening, imbued with vivid imagery of growing up in Southern Appalachia. In Perfect Black, the acclaimed writer muses on such topics as motherhood, the politics of her Black body, lost fathers, mental illness, sexual abuse, and religion. It is a captivating conversation about life, love, loss, and pain, interwoven with striking illustrations by her long-time partner, Ronald W. Davis.

About the Authors

Crystal Wilkinson is the Poet Laureate of Kentucky. She is the author of The Birds of Opulence, winner of the Ernest J. Gaines Award; Blackberries, Blackberries, winner of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature; and Water Street, a finalist for both the UK's Orange Prize for Fiction and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. The winner of a 2020 USA Artist Fellowship, she serves as associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky.

Reviews

"Crystal Wilkinson's Perfect Black is powerful witch-work. In these cascading lyrics, Wilkinson casts her glittering net of protection over the bodies and hearts of every Black girl. The poet's past self, "a girl, not yet trouble," is a dreamer whose desires—for love and intellectual play, for spiritual radiance and sexual empowerment—still carry sweet potency. Here, Black Rapunzel lets down her miraculous ladders of wisdom and vision, while Black grandmothers and church ladies transform into sailboats, safe harbors. Read this book and swerve, in Wilkinson's "perfect cursive," along paths ancestral and deliciously strange."—Kiki Petrosino, author of White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia

"I can read time by my own shadow," Wilkinson writes, and she conjures these heart piercing, authentic poems from the very ground of her life, from the water, from the mountains, from history and memory. It is in every sense a very particular woman we meet in Perfect Black, and it takes the artistry of this very particular poet to also give voice to her forbears, challenge injustice, and offer us a vision of what is possible. Wilkinson's range is astonishing: lyrics, narratives, laments, prayers, reminiscences, and more. Equal parts light and heat, these poems are incandescent."—Richard Hoffman, author of Noon until Night

"If we are Black it should be Perfect. Crystal has shared a wonderful book. Curl up with a cup of soul and enjoy it."—Nikki Giovanni, Poet

"In the beautifully illustrated Perfect Black, when Silas, a water witching grandfather, does anything but read and when Crystal Wilkinson finds a familiar ache in Prince's wildness, you know just how married she is to everything country especially her people and you learn quickly that being country ain't a compliment nor an insult. It's a warning and a promise that has everything to do with folk ways. With the earth. And with truth—no matter how much it hurts. With the same authentic voices that anchor her fiction and twice the personal risks, these poems will hand wash you in the creek and leave you on the line to dry. Utilizing evocative cinematic images that walk right off the page so easily you can taste the seasonings, smell the honeysuckle, feel the blades of grass beneath your bare feet and hear Crystal's allegiance to mountains, creeks and people the color of tobacco from the very first line."—Frank X Walker, author of Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York

"There is an ambience in Crystal Wilkinson's Perfect Black that captures the nostalgic sentiment of place with all its complexities. Wilkinson's inner ear is prominent and pronounced, and within this poetry collection lies the embodiment of women who know the 'creek' and the 'looking-glass' and we, the reader, are innocuous within the words. Imagistically, we are shown what it means to grow up country, girl and Black behind the backdrop of Appalachia. I cannot think of a more authentic voice from the 'holla' than what Wilkinson gives us in Perfect Black."—Randall Horton author of {#289-128}: Poems

"Crystal Wilkinson is Black woman chameleon. Perfect Black proves its joyous heart and weight in devastating truth. Needle-like lines and language thread the Black tradition and southern resilience. This hip strong poetry moves within the spirits of mothers and grandmothers, and a woman's evolution takes center stage and gravity. Wilkinson has long shapeshifted between the literary worlds of prose and poetry. Fiction has reaped her brilliance long enough. It's poetry's turn!"—Parneshia Jones, author of Vessel

"Perfect Black is the long-awaited first poetry volume from the acclaimed Affrilachian novelist, Crystal Wilkinson. Collecting poems that were written across two decades, Perfect Black tells the story of one woman's Kentucky life, a hymn to how Wilkinson emerged from a rural girlhood to build a transformative legacy of activism and artistry. As the poet remembers and survives traumas like sexual assault, mother-loss, and racism, she also reminds the reader that by staying close to her roots, and the land in which they grow, a woman can learn how to do more than survive, she can come out singing, she can thrive. Perfect Black is not just a compelling book of poetry, it is the inspiring memoir-in-verse of the writer who became the Commonwealth of Kentucky's first African-American woman to be named Poet Laureate."—Rebecca Gayle Howell, author of American Purgatory

9780813151151 : perfect-black-wilkinson-finney-davis
Hardback
August 3, 2021
$29.95 USD
9780813151168 : perfect-black-wilkinson-finney-davis
Paperback / softback
August 3, 2021
$19.95 USD
9780813151212 : perfect-black-wilkinson-finney-davis
Electronic book text
August 3, 2021
$19.95 USD
9780813151335 : perfect-black-wilkinson-finney-davis
Electronic book text
August 3, 2021
$19.95 USD

Other Titles by Crystal Wilkinson

The Birds of Opulence

Crystal Wilkinson
Feb 2018 - University Press of Kentucky
$29.95 USD - Hardback
$19.95 USD - Electronic book text
$29.95 USD - Electronic book text

Blackberries, Blackberries

Crystal Wilkinson, foreword by Nikky Finney, afterword by Honorée Jeffers
Feb 2017 - University Press of Kentucky
$19.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Water Street

Crystal Wilkinson, afterword by Marianne Worthington, foreword by Jacinda Townsend
Feb 2017 - University Press of Kentucky
$19.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles by Nikky Finney

Heartwood, expanded edition

Nikky Finney
Sep 2021 - University Press of Kentucky
$12.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$12.95 USD - Electronic book text
$12.95 USD - Electronic book text

State of the Heart

edited by Aida Rogers, foreword by Nikky Finney, afterword by Cassandra King
Aug 2018 - University of South Carolina Press
$41.99 USD - Hardback
$19.99 USD - Paperback / softback

State of the Heart

edited by Aïda Rogers, foreword by Nikky Finney, afterword by Cassandra King Conroy
Aug 2018 - University of South Carolina Press
$19.99 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles in POETRY / American / African American

Marrow

darlene anita scott
Mar 2022 - University Press of Kentucky
$29.95 USD - Hardback
$19.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$19.95 USD - Electronic book text

Asked What Has Changed

Ed Roberson
Feb 2022 - Wesleyan University Press
$24.95 USD - Hardback
$15.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$19.99 USD - Electronic book text

We Know This Place

Sunni Patterson
Nov 2021 - University of New Orleans Press
$18.95 USD - Paperback / softback