Hurston/Wright Foundation | Trouble Sleeping by Abdul Ali
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Trouble Sleeping by Abdul Ali

Trouble Sleeping

Trouble Sleeping, the debut book of poems by local poet and Hurston/Wright Foundation board member Abdul Ali, is the contemporary answer to Lucille Clifton’s 1991 call to “come celebrate/with me that everyday/something has tried to kill me/and has failed.” It’s the sleepless night spent thinking of things that failed to kill but still torment. Thoughts of death, mental illness, a New York City childhood, family, silence, pop culture, and racialized violence all haunt Ali’s sleepless poems. The collection, which won the 2014 New Issues Poetry Prize, is punctuated by black pages with only “(blink)” printed on them, and these serve as brief yet potent pauses between dreams, nightmares, and flashbacks.

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