by Deonte Osayande
Page Count: 110 pages
Release Date:February 2017
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One of the Midwest's 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 of Detroit's finest poetic voices, 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, let's 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 one's 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.
Deonte Osayande's work has been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology, the Pushcart Prize, and have been published in numerous journals and magazines. He is the author of multiple chapbooks including Cover the Sky With Crows (ELJ Publications 2015). Osayande is currently a professor of English at the University of Detroit Mercy and Wayne County Community College.
"Deonte Osayande's 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