New essay, a cover reveal and more!
ISSA COVER REVEAL!
This week, Acre Books and I unveiled the cover of my debut collection, HoodWitch!
About The Artists
Geter’s website states that the piece, bulls eye, was one created in a series inspired by Sojourner Truth’s infamous speech, Ain’t I A Woman. I am especially grateful to these two individuals for helping to bring my vision to life!
What The Cover Means To Me
This book has been a long time in the making (9 years!) and to finally see its cover is exhilarating.
After several title changes, a mini breakdown, and sifting through dozens of possible book cover images, my team came upon this image. I was struck by how personal this piece in particular felt. I connected with the image right away, seeing myself reflected in an honest and somewhat terrifying light.
The frustration I often feel, the loneliness — all of it is here.
With my debut collection, I wanted to work on opening myself up to the world around me and describing what it felt like to live as a black, nonbinary femme person. It took a long time to admit that even though I loved this body I was born into…it did not fully reflect all of my thoughts about how I view myself in the world.
The arms of the figure in this image are absent — possibly folded behind their back or simply amputated. What is arresting about the absence of the limbs is how the new found white space contributes to the stoic strength of the figure. Without the limbs to distract, the torso is strong and upright, hiding nothing about the heavy breasts and quickly drawing the viewer’s eye down to the bullseye on the belly.
This is a significant view as the bullseye on the belly can easily reference how black women’s sexuality and reproduction rights have been consistently attacked by anyone not black and female.
From the figure’s tear streaked face and nappy hair to the smudged background and bloody title, I appreciate this cover. It sets the tone for the work I hope to do in this collection.
It reveals a truth about my own experience: Strength is rooted in the practice of vulnerability.
You must first recognize that you are fallible and imperfect —then persevere past your brokenness — before you can ever hope to pursue any sort of physical or emotional or mental or spiritual elevation.
ISSA ESSAY IN THE TEXAS OBSERVER!
I was very pleased to have my personal essay about my time in the Hays County Jail published in the Texas Observer this month.
The short personal essay gives a quick background about my time in the Hays County Jail and revealed some of the most troubling aspects about my experience. Please visit the Texas Observer and read the essay!