What Noise Against the Cane

Desiree C. Bailey; Foreword by Carl Phillips

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Finalist for the 2021 National Book Award for Poetry, this Yale Series of Younger Poets volume is a lyrical and polyvocal exploration of what it means to fight for yourself

“Bailey invites us to see what twenty-first-century life is like for a young woman of the Black diaspora in the long wake of a history of slavery, brutality, and struggling for freedoms bodily and psychological.” —Carl Phillips, from the Foreword

"Desiree C. Bailey sings true in her debut. Wherever this voice goes a Caribbean sun travels with it transfiguring what a maroon might overhear—a call awaiting response."—Yusef Komunyakaa

The 115th volume of the Yale Series of Younger Poets, What Noise Against the Cane is a lyric quest for belonging and freedom, weaving political resistance, Caribbean folklore, immigration, and the realities of Black life in America. Desiree C. Bailey begins by reworking the epic in an oceanic narrative of bondage and liberation in the midst of the Haitian Revolution. The poems move into the contemporary Black diaspora, probing the mythologies of home, belief, nation, and womanhood. Series judge Carl Phillips observes that Bailey’s “poems argue for hope and faith equally. . . . These are powerful poems, indeed, and they make a persuasive argument for the transformative powers of steady defiance.”

Desiree C. Bailey is the author of the fiction chapbook In Dirt or Saltwater and has been published in Best American Poetry, Academy of American Poets, Callaloo, and elsewhere. She was born in Trinidad and Tobago, and grew up in Queens, New York. Her website is http://desireecbailey.com.
 
Carl Phillips is the award-winning author of fifteen books of poetry, most recently Wild Is the Wind and Pale Colors in a Tall Field. This is his tenth and final year as judge of the Yale Series of Younger Poets.

“Bailey can look forward to a great future as a poet”—L. Ali Khan, New York Journal of Books

“Bailey invites us to see what twenty-first-century life is like for a young woman of the Black diaspora in the long wake of a history of slavery, brutality, and struggling for freedoms bodily and psychological.”—Carl Phillips, from the Foreword

“Desiree C. Bailey sings true in her debut What Noise Against the Cane. Wherever this voice goes a Caribbean sun travels with it transfiguring what a maroon might overhear—a call awaiting response.”—Yusef Komunyakaa

Finalist for the 2021 National Book Award for Poetry, sponsored by The National Book Foundation

Named One of the Best Books of 2021 by the New York Public Library 
ISBN: 9780300256536
Publication Date: April 13, 2021
96 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
ADDITIONAL MATERIALS

Westerly

Will Schutt; Foreword by Carl Phillips

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Eruv

Eryn Green; Foreword by Carl Phillips

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Blue Yodel

Ansel Elkins; Foreword by Carl Phillips

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The Destroyer in the Glass

Noah Warren; Foreword by Carl Phillips

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Simulacra

Airea D. Matthews; Foreword by Carl Phillips

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We Play a Game

Duy Doan; Foreword by Carl Phillips

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Yale Series of Younger Poets
Hermit with Landscape

Daniel Hall; Foreword by James Merrill

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Out of the Woods

Thomas Bolt; Foreword by James Merrill

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Picture Bride

Cathy Song; Foreword by Richard Hugo

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Natural Histories

Leslie Ullman; Foreword by Richard Hugo

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