Evie Shockley

Evie Shockley is the author of the new black (winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry), a half-red sea, two chapbooks, and the critical study Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry.  Her poetry and criticism appears widely in journals and anthologies, and she currently serves as creative writing editor at Feminist Studies.  She is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.



to be continued blues


the old folks had it right: the darkness always

plays with the light. nappy curl of bessie’s voice,


springing through backwater blues, strong pulled-tight

spiral riding the plane that rocks upon the pianist’s

knuckles. moonfaced, the proof and promise of sun


shining out of her skin. when her vocal lightning

strikes, sorrow gleams and winks: the joke is on


tomorrow. forgotten knowledge leaks from r&b’s

rusty acronym. thought hip hop had leaped over


that lesson, but chuck d tucked it under a rhyme.

the old school had it right. our darkness always


shines out on its kin when it goes vocal. lightning-

fast lines link black butterflies to (who’s that) blues

ladies, or last trains leaving sundown towns to new


orleans’ no-buses going no-where fast. sky’s so

dark and bright. she wailed 911 a long time ago.


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