Books for changing the world

Patricia Frazier’s Graphite is an ode to her grandmother and childhood home, the Ida B. Wells Projects, both which the poet lost to city- and state-sanctioned discrimination. The chapbook investigates loss and gentrification, particularly their effects on black young people from Chicago, whose political movement, resilience, and ability to make celebration after pain, drive these poems.

  • "Patricia Frazier’s Graphite gathers us at the table and provides seats for those who stand. Here is a poet who holds all her truths in the bodies that so many want to mark as theirs, or claim their access to. Queeriosity is not always questioning. Sometimes it’s marking the territory of your own, without the -isms the world attempts to fold and fossil us into." —E’mon Lauren (Black), author of Commando, first Youth Poet Laureate of Chicago

    "Graphite is a book of boundless imaginative power, deep love, & rigorous craft. Frazier assembles a cast of characters that get cut from mainstream narratives: her grandmothers, queer Black people, the formerly incarcerated, teenage parents, former residents of the Ida B. Wells Homes, and treats everyone with honesty and tenderness. We see Frazier, in the tradition of Gwendolyn Brooks before her, peering out and capturing the stories of her beloved communities, but Frazier is not merely a poet of witness. Frazier is a poet of transformation. In her hands, we see The Wells rise as a facebook group chat, we see Dorothy click her heels and wish for the block, and God work as a cosmetologist. This is a beautiful book by a poet who already has much to teach us about writing and the world. I can't wait for you to read this book."—José Olivarez, author of Citizen Illegal

    "What a joy it is to see someone see themselves with such a clarity that it clarifies something for you? Patricia's poems radiate with a deep love and challenge for the places and people that have shaped her world. Her poems push me to imagine a family where love absent of judgment is possible. Her poems push me to imagine a city where violence is not the default. Patricia's poems push me to imagine a society where illness is not taboo. Patricia is young and her model challenges me to keep up. I look forward to the work to come." —Nate Marshall, author of Wild Hundreds

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