The Black Maria (Kobo eBook)
Girmay's previous BOA title Kingdom Animalia won the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, and has been a consistent leader in sales, selling more than 3,500 copies since 2011.
In 2015, Girmay was honored with a Whiting Award in Poetry, a prestigious award that carries a $50,000 prize.
With the recent rise of national attention to racism, white supremacy, and media tags like #BlackLivesMatter and #ICantBreathe, this collection is a timely and necessary look at historical and current realities of blackness within the U.S.
Human Rights reports estimate that over 20,000 people have died at sea making the journey across the Mediterranean from North Africa to southern Europe in the past two decades. This collection focuses, in part, on this international crisis. In order to write these poems, Girmay researched international law around immigration, immigration rates, and the pressures that push people to attempt these crossings even at the height of astonishing risk.
This book carries with it a short film project that incorporates portraiture, collage, and archival footage against a sonic backdrop of Albert Ayler’s “Water Music.” The film means to conjure a “memorialistic” tone that illustrates diverse relationships/juxtapositions of black bodies and bodies of water. The short film will be available online.