BLACK SWIM

In Black Swim, Nicholas Goodly casts a spell to transform darkness into perfect darkness. This stunning debut collection is at once “forged from the hurt parts of the ground” and “proof of a miracle,” spinning ache and sweat and sweetness into a new model of feeling through language.

Black people, queer/trans/nonbinary people, flamboyant people, lonely people, gaudy people, kind people, witches, artists, and angry people will meet themselves and one another in these pages. Amidst death and against injustice, Goodly’s poems bear gifts for and from the ancestors—a necklace, a mirror, a form of offered prayer: “If there is a purpose in this life / let me wash my face in it.”

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PRAISE FOR BLACK SWIM

“Calling up from magic and all of the ancient gods of poetry, Nicholas Goodly’s Black Swim is a masterpiece. These lyric poems are relentless, forcing us to see and feel everything beautiful, good, and evil about the world . . . Goodly takes the old stories and turns them completely inside out with language that will make believe that poetry can do anything. I love this book and you will, too.”

—Dorothea Lasky, author of Animal

“These poems are sitting around the living room drinking brown liquor. These poems be saying shit. These poems invite your gaze because you could never. These poems sweat. These poems know how to treat a man. These poems require no formal education. These poems know God is watching. Nicholas Goodly is not singing the bitter songs of his peers. These poems have joy. These poems are the new cry of a tribe almost extinct.”

—Dante Micheaux, author of Circus

“Poetry at its finest: probing, delicate, sublime. Each page its own queer ecosystem. Goodly transcends.”

—Alok Vaid-Menon, author of Femme in Public