• Class

by Deonte Osayande


ISBN: 978-1988214115
Pages: 104
Released: February 2017

One of the Midwests finest slam poets, Osayande brings his work to the written page and delivers a lyric exploration of everyday life in Detroit in his debut full-length collection Class. In his voice you can hear and feel the lineage of some finest poetic voices from Detroit, stretching back to David Blair, Murray Jackson, and Naomi Long Madgett. He captures the rhythms, images, and deepest meditations of life both hardscrabble and painfully beautiful in a fashion that calls us to know that survival is much more about living than cowering in fear. As a teacher Osayande brings us before his classrooms, allows us linger on the experiences and moments of growing up in a city that feels lost amidst the promises of America, and takes us through the high cost of being black in a place where the colour of ones skin can deliver a trauma that only the strongest can survive. His poems show us the Detroit that has always been here. Both heartbreaking and empowering the poems in this collection ask the reader to consider the America that is kept hidden from Prime Time television, that carries on because it must, and understands that the act of speaking is the best therapy and resistance that one can offer to a world given at best to indifference and at worst insidious violence


Praise for Class:

Deonte Osayandes voice is one that needs to be heard-right now. Class helps us to explore questions of class, race, and the painful history that is never over but is relived daily. The poems have a wonderful no-bullshit quality that invite us to return to them again and again. - Kenneth Pobo, LopLop in a Red City, winner of the 2014 Blue Light Press Book Award

Powerfully built poems like Fear & Forgiveness and Battleship belie with their grace how hard it is to convey such complexity as simply as that. Straight-up poems, they convey the nuances of navigation frankly without being blunt. In a poem like Dagger Deonte Osayande points the way through the challenging time of life when our parents become a Chinese finger puzzle. In The Paranoia Says the Helicopter Searches For Me \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"I joke about the threat, about/my blood pressure as if/there wasn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t a shooting/at a community college/weeks before, as if I weren\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t/the same complexion/ as the targets cops use at their shooting ranges. Class Proof is silencing in the best possible way. Pull up a chair and listen to an inner and outer experiences of being a black teacher in America\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\". -Pearl Pirie, pet radish, shrunken, winner of 2015 Lampman Award

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Class

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