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Crossfire: A Litany for Survival

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“Staceyann Chin’s Crossfire is a remarkable collection from a dynamic and talented writer, whose urgent storytelling and commanding voice feel vital for our times.” —Edwidge Danticat Crossfire collects Staceyann Chin's empowering, activist-driven poetry for the first time in a single book. According to The New York Times, Chin "is sassy, rageful and sometimes softly “Staceyann Chin’s Crossfire is a remarkable collection from a dynamic and talented writer, whose urgent storytelling and commanding voice feel vital for our times.” —Edwidge Danticat Crossfire collects Staceyann Chin's empowering, activist-driven poetry for the first time in a single book. According to The New York Times, Chin "is sassy, rageful and sometimes softly self-mocking." The Advocate wrote her poems, "combine hilarious one-liners with a refusal to conform" and note "Chin is out to confront more than just the straight world."


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“Staceyann Chin’s Crossfire is a remarkable collection from a dynamic and talented writer, whose urgent storytelling and commanding voice feel vital for our times.” —Edwidge Danticat Crossfire collects Staceyann Chin's empowering, activist-driven poetry for the first time in a single book. According to The New York Times, Chin "is sassy, rageful and sometimes softly “Staceyann Chin’s Crossfire is a remarkable collection from a dynamic and talented writer, whose urgent storytelling and commanding voice feel vital for our times.” —Edwidge Danticat Crossfire collects Staceyann Chin's empowering, activist-driven poetry for the first time in a single book. According to The New York Times, Chin "is sassy, rageful and sometimes softly self-mocking." The Advocate wrote her poems, "combine hilarious one-liners with a refusal to conform" and note "Chin is out to confront more than just the straight world."

30 review for Crossfire: A Litany for Survival

  1. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    edit: I've been thinking of reclamation of identity in adulthood. For example, transracial adoptees who visit birth parents in adulthood or travel to the country they or their birth parents were originally from. While I'm still wary of certain aspects of the uglier parts of reclamation (see: DNA analysis making people feel bold in their use of slurs) that's not this so I'm retracting that earlier critique.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher for a freelance assignment; opinions are my own. I hadn't heard of Staceyann Chin before Nectar Literary put CROSSFIRE on my radar, but I'm so glad they did, because I read this book (which is quite long for a poetry collection, over 200 pages) in a day and then googled the heck out of her and got the audiobook of her memoir. So, that tells you something about how engaging her writing, and her personality, is. Chin is maybe best known for being a I received a copy of this book from the publisher for a freelance assignment; opinions are my own. I hadn't heard of Staceyann Chin before Nectar Literary put CROSSFIRE on my radar, but I'm so glad they did, because I read this book (which is quite long for a poetry collection, over 200 pages) in a day and then googled the heck out of her and got the audiobook of her memoir. So, that tells you something about how engaging her writing, and her personality, is. Chin is maybe best known for being a spoken word poet, since she was a very popular part of Def Poetry Jam (as was Bassey Ikpi, whose memoir I *loved*). The poems in CROSSFIRE span decades of Chin's life and work as a Jamaican girl who was abandoned by her parents, a lesbian, an immigrant, an outspoken social justice activist and a single mother by choice (her daughter was conceived via IVF at a time when Chin wasn't partnered, which apparently was a really big deal for a lot of people around her, and she wrote a great piece about it for HuffPost). I definitely recommend watching some videos of her performing as a supplement to reading this, because she is dynamic as hell. But the poems definitely hold up on the page. Many of the poems in this collection express rage at the patriarchy and everything it has created, and they don't hold back, which makes them really liberating to read. Some are more introspective, particularly toward the end- more focused on interpersonal relationships (including with the self) and parenthood. They're somehow corporeal and fantastical at once. There's also a poem that she performed at the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago that basically calls out the Games for being a gaudy display of privilege, and I loved it. I highly recommend this read!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Megan Gafvert

    Staceyann is a badass lgbtq feminist woc icon, and her poetry reflects that

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tallon Kennedy

    These poems are fierce, unapologetically political, full of love and heartbreak and beauty. I've been waiting on this collection from Staceyann Chin for awhile, as I fell in love with her memoir when I read it a few years ago, and subsequently fell in love with her. While she has been an acclaimed and well-known poet for literal decades, particularly for her live performances which I've had the good luck of seeing, she never published a book of her poems (for reasons she explains in the These poems are fierce, unapologetically political, full of love and heartbreak and beauty. I've been waiting on this collection from Staceyann Chin for awhile, as I fell in love with her memoir when I read it a few years ago, and subsequently fell in love with her. While she has been an acclaimed and well-known poet for literal decades, particularly for her live performances which I've had the good luck of seeing, she never published a book of her poems (for reasons she explains in the preface). But finally, here it is, her collected poems over the last 20 years, and good lord was it worth the wait. Chin's writing is so raw, and she writes so powerfully against rape culture and white supremacy, using her own experiences to levy these wider cultural critiques. There's an especially irreverent poem about Donald Trump in here that's simply fantastic. A-

  5. 4 out of 5

    Leah Rachel von Essen

    Staceyann Chin is a badass, feminist, lesbian, Caribbean poet and artist, and for the first time, her poetry has been gathered into a full-length collection: CROSSFIRE: A LITANY FOR SURVIVAL, out from Haymarket Books. . I often have mixed thoughts about spoken word poetry captured on a page: as I read it, I feel that I'm missing the cadence and emotion in the poet's voice. But Chin's verse is so ragged, angry, blunt, that it leaps off the page and into the reader's own mouth. "God is that place Staceyann Chin is a badass, feminist, lesbian, Caribbean poet and artist, and for the first time, her poetry has been gathered into a full-length collection: CROSSFIRE: A LITANY FOR SURVIVAL, out from Haymarket Books. . I often have mixed thoughts about spoken word poetry captured on a page: as I read it, I feel that I'm missing the cadence and emotion in the poet's voice. But Chin's verse is so ragged, angry, blunt, that it leaps off the page and into the reader's own mouth. "God is that place between belief and what you name it," she writes, and "It is autumn in America / and the world has lost its fucking mind," and "we were drenched in the saga of you / water leaving your body like rain." . In poems from "Common Truths: Or Why I Love My Pussy" or "Speech Delivered in Chicago At 2006 Gay Games" or "Letter To The Remaining Aborigines in Australia," Chin's poetry is radical, bold, and unflinching, daring us to look the violence, joy, and truth of this world in the face. These poems—written from 1998 to 2019—feature a major talent that I had not heard of, and I'm glad I got the chance to dig into this astounding collection.

  6. 5 out of 5

    2TReads

    Staceyann Chin makes it clear right off the bat that she was wrote these poems to grab her readers and pull them into her life and experiences. These poetics are unabashedly real and raw; tender and yearning; powerful and rebellious; at times dark and painful. She lays it all out, sharing, detailing all she has endured, endures and will endure, until people change, until her country changes, until the world changes. She speaks of injustices, past and present, the rigidness of beliefs and Staceyann Chin makes it clear right off the bat that she was wrote these poems to grab her readers and pull them into her life and experiences. These poetics are unabashedly real and raw; tender and yearning; powerful and rebellious; at times dark and painful. She lays it all out, sharing, detailing all she has endured, endures and will endure, until people change, until her country changes, until the world changes. She speaks of injustices, past and present, the rigidness of beliefs and preconceived views and the damage left in their wake. This collection covers the present state of affairs, her pain, joy, life, our past and what can be. With language that resonates and affects, Staceyann Chin has given a collection that is a call to action, not just for her, but for us all.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Keondra Freemyn

    beautiful collection spanning chin's 20+ year career. it's exciting to see some of my favorite performance poems collected here (crossfire, nails, lesbian chasing straight) plus quite a few new poems. enjoyable collection for old fans and those who are new to her work. i will definitely be gifting these to poetry lovers in my life.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

  9. 4 out of 5

    Meg

  10. 5 out of 5

    G

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nadin

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gabriela Aguilar

  13. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

  14. 5 out of 5

    Miranda

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jehan

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maya

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tendai

  19. 4 out of 5

    Terre

  20. 4 out of 5

    l.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Aleatha Terrell

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alli Agro

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brianne W

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karla Strand

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kim D.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cass

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Constanzo

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sierra Campbell

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elke

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