Forward Prize-winning Jamaican poet, novelist, and essayist Kei Miller, who gave Elliott Bay readers a wonderful reading a few years ago when he visited with his well-received novel, Augustown, virtually returns this evening to read from and discuss his telling new book of linked essays, Things I Have Withheld (Grove Press).
“Jamaican poet and novelist Miller gives a searing voice to ‘the things I have been trying so hard to write’ in this entrancing collection. In 14 essays that code-switch between personas and move from the incisive language of a university professor to Jamaican patois, he vividly depicts the ways colonialism, racism, homophobia, and privilege have shaped his life. As he writes in a letter addressed to the late James Baldwin, ‘there is little between... the set of circumstances you wrote of, and the set of circumstances we live in now’ … Closing with another letter addressing Baldwin, Miller brings into devastating clarity the dangers confronting Black people in visualizing the final moments of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. Sharp as blades, Miller’s words cut to the core.” —Publishers Weekly.
“Thoughtful and impassioned… Miller reflects on race, gender, family, language, and, most pointedly, the body… A spirited collection from a significant voice of both fiction and nonfiction.”—Kirkus Reviews.