Rachel McKibbens nominated the poet Safia Elhillo whose first collection The January Children is published this spring:
Safia Elhillo is a Sudanese-American poet whose extraordinary work inspires me to seek my place within this country and make a home within it. Elhillo's poems read like vibrant prayers for the silenced and displaced—brimming with empowerment, her poetry sees and names in ways that awaken new eyes in the reader.
Elhillo's fidelity to truth elevates her work beyond the bland confines of English. Her defiant syntax holds a gorgeous balance of feeling both grounded and clairvoyant: the language sings through the body and above, the women of her stories are visceral and elegant. Elhillo approaches loss and love with a startling freshness, both woven in musicality and fearlessness, all qualities that make her poetry human and timeless.
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