A Garden of Black Joy's anthology of poems, interviews, and essays spotlight black joy not only as a resource of abundance, but as a mode of self-defense. Poets from Berlin to Kiambu, Antwerp, London, and beyond provide a sketch of what black joy means in this moment and how to make use of it in the name of the future.
Featuring poets such as Julian Randall, Quintin Collins, Tara Betts, and Donte Collins, this collection invites voyages to new worlds and new languages to combat constraints and say yes to possibility. A Garden of Black Joy says insurrection starts with seeds, suggestions, and sweetness. With what is gathered here, we begin at a point of departure to grow another future through the literary arts.
This collection is a project of Black Table Arts, an emerging arts organization that conjures other worlds through black art by connecting communities and cultivating volume in black life. Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Black Table Arts puts black joy on legs and walks it into the living room of the future. It grows community through public programming such as the Black Lines Matter writing classroom at the Loft Literary Center and the Because Black Life Conference.
Black Table Arts is an emerging arts organization that conjures other worlds through black art by connecting communities and cultivating volume in black life. Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Black Table Arts puts black joy on legs and walks it into the living room of the future. It grows community through public programming such as the Black Lines Matter writing classroom at the Loft Literary Center and the Because Black Life Conference.
“A Garden of Black Joy, more than any collection I've read, made me understand and remix Margaret Walker's insistent plea that we write to and for our people. This work is liberation, not just liberatory, which means it dutifully holds our brokenness, our longing and our sensual satisfaction like a secret. Then it tells. And we listen because these Black poets chose us.” —Kiese Laymon
"These poems articulate the banal, the beautiful, the fantastic, and the everyday joy in the lives of black people around the world. In doing so, they evince a compelling vision of possibilities otherwise." —Shannon Gibney
"A Garden of Black Joy, curated by the unstoppable visionary Keno Evol, is exactly what this world needs now and into the future to keep bringing us back to the liberatory and fantastic visions of dystopia(s) and utopia(s). These have always been part of the radical Black prophetic tradition, as Evol so lovingly traces in his brilliant and moving introduction, a work of art in and of itself. The works in this anthology testify to the conditions of Black life, which, as articulated by Black writers such as Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison and so many more, have always demanded the poetics of citizenship of another world within, without, sideways, backwards, and forward from the ongoing (neo)colonial world of racial capitalism and other violences against Black bodies, spirits, and imaginations. This underground must simultaneously be lived within the individual, in the present, and intergenerationally, as a form of fugitivity, as contemporary poets such as Chaun Webster and Fred Moten and many more have and mapped. This living treasure, this changeling speculative work, A Garden of Black Joy, is manifestation of poetry as a deep ethics, a commitment to decolonialism (often beginning and ending with the body), and the infinitely sacred beauty of Black life on its own terms. Add this to the canon of the cosmos. It must be read, shared, taught, and lived by all of us who care about enacting a true moral commons. Those of us who are not Black, who benefit from the spoils of regimes of anti-Blackness, should find it our duty and our pleasure to encounter this powerful politics of beauty. Furious flowers!" —신선영辛善英 Sun Yung Shin, award-winning author of Unbearable Splendor