Lauren K. Alleyne

Lauren K. Alleyne - Picador Guest Professor in the summer semester 2015

Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Lauren K. Alleyne holds an M.F.A. in Poetry and a graduate certificate in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Cornell University. Alleyne is currently a Poet-in-Residence and an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Dubuque, Dubuque, IA. Alleyne’s fiction, poetry and non-fiction has been widely published in journals and anthologies, including Black Arts Quarterly, Women’s Studies Quarterly, The Caribbean Writer, The Crab Orchard Review, Belleview Literary Review, The Banyan Review, Let Spirit Speak, Guernica, Growing Up Girl and Gathering Ground, among others. A Cave Canem graduate, her work has been awarded numerous prizes, including the 2010 Small Axe Literary Prize, a 2012 Lyrical Iowa Award, an International Publication Prize from The Atlanta Review, and honorable mention in the 2009 Reginald Shepherd Memorial Poetry Prize. Alleyne has also co-edited several literary collections, such as From the Heart of Brooklyn, and the scholarly collection Before the Hospital: Qatar and the Tradition of Healing.

Her first collection of poetry, Difficult Fruit, was published in 2014 to great critical acclaim. Honeyfish (2018), her second collection, showed the world through the perspective of a Black immigrant woman. Her latest work features in the collection Furious Flower (2019), an anthology of poems by more than a hundred award-winning African American poets and in the Lyricfest’s ArtSong Festival (2021).

Ein Gedicht der Autorin:

Self Portrait with NeoNazi Demonstration

Leipzig, Germany 4/20/15

Just like that the day is black
and blue, bruised with hate.
Just like that my skin, black
as fine leather stretches so tight
I might tear into bright black
ribbons. See the flag– spent
and flaccid– the windless black,
red and gold clutched in a fist
that I fear will name my black
face dirt, and land. And so, just
like that plans fade to black—
a sunlit walk home folds flat
into a taxi’s steel skin, the black
seat holding my body upright.
See the street draped in black
uniforms, the shrill blue shout
of sirens, the march of black-
draped demonstrators, faces set
toward the sun in rows of black
sunglasses. I want to shoot
something, to become a black
grizzly and claw someone’s throat:
what I mean is I want to be black
and brave, but today, I am not.
Just like that.

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