2019, 128 pages
Swing at your own risk, structurally designed to swing from one subject to the next, from one lyric utterance to the next, concerns itself with unpacking myths of gender, race, sexuality, and violence (specifically myths of the scary black man in the U.S. and the scary black woman in the U.S.). Through formal and structural experimentation, the poems attempt to look at the varying issues in the U.S. that can rob humans of opportunities to be radically humane.
A 2016 co-winner of the Robert H. Winner Award from Poetry Society of America, Metta Sáma is author of the chapbooks the year we turned dragon (Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs), le animal & other creatures (Miel), After After/After “Sleeping to Dream” (Nous-zot Press) and Nocturne Trio (YesYes Books). Her debut poetry collection, South of Here, was a finalist in the Yale Younger Series Book Prize, the Paris Review Book Prize & the Stan and Tom Wyck Book Prize. South of Here was published by New Issues Press under Sáma’s legal name, Lydia Melvin. Sáma is a recipient of the Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellowship from University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Institute for Creative Writing Fellowship and residency scholarships from, most recently, Millay Colony for the Arts, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the University of Missouri Writing Workshops—Athens.
A literary scholar, prose writer, book reviewer, interviewer, and poet, Sáma’s work has been published in various anthologies and journals, including Reclaiming Home, Remembering Motherhood, Rewriting History: African American and Afro-Caribbean Women's Literature in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge Scholars Press), Mentor & Muse: Writers on Writing (SIU Press), The Caribbean Woman Writer as Scholar: Creating, Imagining, Theorizing (Caribbean Studies Press), Femininities and Masculinities in Action: On Theory and Practice in a Moving Field, Bluestem, Feminist Wire, Kweli, Herkind, The Volta, Literary Hub, Brooklyn Magazine, Puerto del Sol’s Black Voices Series, Best American Experimental Writing, Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky, Red Sky: Poems on the global epidemic of violence against women, among others. She is a co-editor of the critical literary activism anthology Bettering American Poetry and has guest edited literary journals Reverie, Red Leaf Poetry, North America Review, Black Camera, and About Place Journal. Sáma is a fellow of the Black Earth Institute, a member of Black Radish Books Advisory Board, and Director of Center for Women Writers at Salem College, where she also serves as Director of Creative Writing and Assistant Professor of Creative Writing.