The organization of the Blood Vinyls as tracks with each track as a theme illuminates these soulful gorgeous intelligently-crafted poems capturing the black South and womanhood so intimately and with such knowing - an edgy discography of Florida and the contentions of gender and race in the South. Franklin understands like Zora Neale Hurston how to pen intimate narratives that reveal a distinctive aspect of southern history and its customs stemming from the legacies of slavery and beyond.
Yolanda J. Franklin is a Cave Canem and Callaloo Fellow a recipient of a 2016-2017 McKnight Dissertation Fellowship and a Kingsbury writing award. Franklin is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. Her poems appear in the current issue or are forthcoming in the following journals: Hayden's Ferry Review Southern Humanities Review and the Apalachee Review. Her poetry also appears in the recent anthology "It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip-Hop" and is a two-time recipient of a J.M. Shaw Academy of American Poets Award. Franklin is a third generation Floridian born in the state's capital - Tallahassee. She loves dancing to old school hip-hop baking food tasting and can be found at her favorite coffee shop Black Dog Café in Railroad Square enjoying a drink the baristas named after her.
"What an incredible collection of poetry. I love the organization of the book as tracks and each track has a theme. These are such soulful gorgeous poems. Intelligently crafted. Franklin captures the black South and womanhood so intimately with such knowing. There is not a weak poem in the book which is quite a feat. Standout poems include White Room Syndrome Black Writer Southern Girl Hymn Stiletto Wedged Drag Queen Bingo: Sarasota Florida Vindictive Grace and Southern Redactions but again these are the very best among a whole book of excellent poetry. A must-must-must read." - Roxane Gay
"Yolanda J. Franklin writes poems marked by vitality and wonder urgency and care. Like the best kind of album Blood Vinyls demonstrates Franklin's formal and vocal range. Even when she writes into hurt and despair the expansiveness I find here fills me with joy. I am grateful for this book." - Camille T. Dungy Trophic Cascade from back cover
"In Blood Vinyls Southern vernacular gives Yolanda Franklin what poetry must give to the ear. This book is all sass and riot &hellip which is to say that Franklin is unashamed by the fact of sorrow an emotion that reminds us just how vulnerable we really are. This book calls and coos and confesses or as Franklin herself says 'know i know i know you still believe that i deserve this soundtrack i live but didn't i didn't i make you the most beautiful consequences of love?'"- Jericho Brown The New Testament from back cover
"Reader welcome to Florida -'Jim Crow's stiletto ' the land that time time and again forgets - where memory's a needle in a groove: that long heel in the Atlantic's swirl of Middle Passage salt and hurricane slap. Yolanda Franklin is homegirl to the Florida of my mind. She understands as Zora did its estranging rhythms and seasons and renders them like emergent systems. Here is how we imagine heaven: a porch where Janie Crawford and Phoebe Watson sit sipping sweet tea in dialogue about Katrina. From 'fish grease' to 'empty civility's bales/of hey' the tracks that form this debut collection hold vibrations of Florida life etched into the lyric and amplified. 'These are not lies. This is the truth.' I hear these poems. I feel them." - Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon Open Interval from back cover
"'Black people love hip-hop!' says Yolanda Franklin in the first line of the first poem in this excitable over-caffeinated book. Blood Vinyls is jam-packed with 'grown-up shit' as another poem says and grown-up people (Tina Turner Big Mama Thornton Toni Morrison) as well as people who never got a chance to grow up (Trayvon Martin Michael Brown). Roller-coastering from high to low love to hate silly to serious and back again Blood Vinyls speaks with an authority seldom heard in poetry's low-key non-fat chilled-out too-laid-back-for-its-own-good atmosphere. Too many hyphens? Get used to it reader because this poet demolishes all the categories and makes new and better ones from the fragments of the old. You'll love Yolanda Franklin guaranteed." - David Kirby A Wilderness of Monkeys from back cover