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Winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize Finalist for the 2017 Kate Tufts Discovery Award Finalist for the 2017 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry Finalist for the 2017 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry Finalist for the Norma Farber First Book Award Rich in religious and artistic imagery, Trouble the Water is an intriguing exploration of race, sexuality, and identity, particularly where self-hood is in constant flux. These intimate, sensual poems interweave pop culture and history--moving from the Bible through several artistic eras--to interrogate what it means to be, as Austin says, fully human as a "queer, black body" in 21st century America. 'Expect poison of the standing water, ' Blake warned, highlighting the dangers of imaginative stagnation. I'm now tempted to believe that Blake himself has sent us Derrick Austin and his remarkable collection, Trouble the Water. At once gospel and troubadour song, these deeply spiritual and expansively erotic poems are lucid, unflinching, urgent. This is an extraordinary debut. --Mary Szybist, winner of the National Book Award
About the Author
Derrick Austin is a Cave Canem fellow and earned his MFA from the University of Michigan where he was awarded a Hopwood Award in graduate poetry. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Best American Poetry 2015, Image: A Journal of Arts and Religion, New England Review, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, The Paris-American, Memorious, and other journals and anthologies. He is the Social Media Coordinator for The Offing. Mary Szybist is most recently the author of Incarnadine, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry. Her first collection of poetry, Granted, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the 2004 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Witter Bynner Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center, Szybist teaches at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.