Tuesday, April 24, 2018

"Variations in Blue" by Lauren K. Alleyne

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April 24, 2018

Variations in Blue

Lauren K. Alleyne
Lauren K. Alleyne reads "Variations in Blue."

About This Poem


"This poem emerged as a result of a conversation I had with poet Frank X Walker, which I included as an epigraph. I'm from the island of Trinidad and Tobago—a place populated mostly by black people and surrounded by water, and while not everyone knows how to swim, the water was such a defining feature of my 'coming up'—so my first response to his comment was incredulity. And then a sharp confrontation with the contrasts of growing up as a black person outside of the American context and choosing now to live within it. For days that conversation stayed with me: it triggered memory, history, and outrage about current events, specifically the image of Dajerria Becton pinned beneath a police officer in Texas for trying to use the pool. This all, of course, sent me to the page, and this poem resulted."
—Lauren K. Alleyne


Lauren K. Alleyne is the author of Difficult Fruit (Peepal Tree Press, 2014) and Honeyfish, which received the 2018 Green Rose Prize and is forthcoming in 2019 from New Issues Poetry & Prose. Alleyne is currently assistant director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center and an associate professor of English at James Madison University. She lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia.


Photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Poetry by Alleyne


Difficult Fruit

(Peepal Tree Press, 2014)

"Swimming" by Carl Phillips


"Mythologies of the Deep" by Amanda Hawkins


"Unrest in Baton Rouge" by Tracy K. Smith


April Guest Editor: Tracy K. Smith


Thanks to Tracy K. Smith, current United States poet laureate and author of Wade in the Water (Graywolf Press, 2018), who curated Poem-a-Day this month. Read more about Smith and our guest editors for the year.

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