Erica  Dawson-When Rap Spoke Straight to God

Erica Dawson


Erica Dawson is the author of two previous collections of poetry and the winner of the 2006 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in Barrow Street; Bennington Review; three editions of Best American Poetry; Crazyhorse; Harvard Review; Life: 50 Poems Now; the Pushcart Prize XLII: Best of the Small Presses; Rebellion; Resistance; Virginia Quarterly Review; and numerous other journals and anthologies. She lives in Tampa, Florida, and is an associate professor at University of Tampa, where she also directs the low-residency MFA program.


When Rap Spoke Straight to God

When Rap Spoke Straight to God isn’t sacred or profane, but a chorus joined in a single soliloquy, demanding to be heard. There’s Wu-Tang and Mary Magdalene with a foot fetish, Lil’ Kim and a self-loving Lilith. Slurs, catcalls, verses, erasures―Dawson asks readers, “Just how far is it to nigger?” Both grounded and transcendent, the book is reality and possibility. A mix of traditional forms where sonnets mash up with sestinas morphing to heroic couplets, When Rap Spoke Straight to God insists that while you may recognize parts of the poem’s world, you can’t anticipate how it will evolve.

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