Crystal Wilkinson combines a deep love for her rural roots with a passion for language and storytelling in this compelling collection of poetry and prose about girlhood, racism, and political awakening, imbued with vivid imagery of growing up in Southern Appalachia. In Perfect Black, the acclaimed writer muses on such topics as motherhood, the politics of her Black body, lost fathers, mental illness, sexual abuse, and religion. It is a captivating conversation about life, love, loss, and pain, interwoven with striking illustrations by her long-time partner, Ronald W. Davis.
Crystal Wilkinson is the author of The Birds of Opulence (winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence), Blackberries, Blackberries (winner of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature), and Water Street (finalist for both the UK's Orange Prize for Fiction and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award). The winner of the 2008 Denny Plattner Award in Poetry from Appalachian Heritage magazine and the Sallie Bingham Award from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, she has received recognition from the Yaddo Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center for the Arts, the Kentucky Arts Council, and the Mary Anderson Center for the Arts. She was named a 2020 USA Fellow by United States Artists and teaches at the University of Kentucky, where she is Associate Professor of English in the MFA in Creative Writing Program.
Nikky Finney is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets and the John H. Bennett, Jr., Chair in Creative Writing and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina. She edited Black Poets Lean South and authored On Wings Made of Gauze, Rice, The World Is Round, Head Off & Split (winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Poetry), and Love Child's Hotbed of Occasional Poetry. Finney's work, including her now legendary National Book Award acceptance speech, is on display in the inaugural exhibition of the African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
Paperback. 112 pages.