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In a country where violence and the threat of violence is a constant weather for queer black people, where can the spirit rest?
With lush language, the meditative poems in the Isabella Gardner Award-winning Tenderness examine the fraught nature of intimacy in a nation poisoned by anti-Blackness and homophobia. From the bedroom to the dance floor, from the natural world to The Frick, from the Midwest to Florida to Mexico City, the poems range across interior and exterior landscapes. They look to movies, fine art, childhood memory, history, and mental health with melancholy, anger, and playfulness.
Even amidst sorrow and pain, Tenderness uplifts communal spaces as sites of resistance and healing, wonders at the restorative powers of art and erotic love, and celebrates the capaciousness of friendship.
About the Author
Derrick Austin is the author of Tenderness (BOA, 2021), winner of the 2020 Isabella Gardner Poetry Award. His debut collection, Trouble the Water (BOA, 2016), selected by Mary Syzbist for the A. Poulin Jr, Poetry Prize, was a finalist for the 2017 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, the 2017 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry, the 2017 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, and the 2017 Norma Faber First Book Award. He has received fellowships from the University of Michigan, Cave Canem, The University of Wisconsin's Institute for Creative Writing, and Stanford University. His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, Best American Poetry 2015, Black Nerd Problems, Gulf Coast, Image: A Journal of Arts and Religion, The Nation, New England Review, Tin House, and Tupelo Quarterly. He lives in Oakland, CA.