Black Lawrence Press
November 29, 2017

Welcome back, Terrell Jamal Terry!

This month we are celebrating the titles that we’ve acquired in the past six months. These manuscripts came to us through our open reading periods and our 2017 Hudson Prize. Today we bring you Terrell Jamal Terry, author of the poetry collection Eyeless Light Seeing, which will be published in the fall of 2019. This will be Terrell’s second book with Black Lawrence Press.

Have a manuscript you think we’d like? During our November Open Reading Period we are looking for poetry (chapbooks and full-length collections), short fiction (again, both chapbooks and full-length collections), novels, novellas, nonfiction (CNF, biography, cultural studies) and translations from German. Also, our Big Moose Prize for the novel is currently open to early bird submissions.

 

Terry PhotoThe Author

Terrell Jamal Terry is the author of the poetry collections Aroma Truce (Black Lawrence Press, 2017) and Eyeless Light Seeing (Black Lawrence Press, forthcoming, 2019). In 2018, a limited-edition chapbook will be published by The Song Cave. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Poetry Northwest, The Literary Review, West Branch, The Journal, Green Mountains Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Guernica, Crab Orchard Review, The Volta, Sugar House Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Diode, Washington Square Review, the anthology Bettering American Poetry 2015, and elsewhere.

 

 

On writing Eyeless Light Seeing

Eyeless Light Seeing was created from a rib in my debut poetry collection Aroma Truce, so to speak. Several poems were being made with a loose urgency. They flowed in and out of each other. Patterns were with and without obvious meaning. I allowed lines and phrases to breathe for days and weeks. I was writing into what could be. My process is usually initiated by any number of everyday happenings that suddenly transform into little quixotic revelations­. All of my poems to this point have been abstractly personal, but not necessarily autobiographical. My process is usually something like this: brainstorming or stacking images, lines and thoughts (sometimes playful and always highly expressive), linking (searching for themes and connections), drafting, composition, revision and editing. The ideas and implications in this second book continue to point to my curiosity and often confusion about identity, experience and observation. Isolation, social class, addiction, beauty and grace, are some of the themes that are sporadically sprinkled across the collection. I began creating poems for this book while living in Raleigh, NC. The book was completed in Pittsburgh, about two years later. Unlike my debut, I divided the collection into sections. My intention being to permit the reader to absorb the book slowly.

 

 

Excerpts

.
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Bask in My Villain
.
.
Into the wee/a part of me
Is starving, where white letters
Flood an exquisite room
By the end of this year…something
A mosquito in the flag of fire
Do you know what the color black is?
I have never seen a “black”
I have seen the breath of a fox
When no fox was in the woods
I need a ladder to reach your logic
It’s not my metronome
It’s not my picture/staring
At the bones of us in the dry leaves
On a floor made of light
I’m quieted by a rainy season burning clouds
It was waterglass & I asked
What is that meticulous glitter?
Blazing bridges, I was reaching into fog,
Secret drinks & faded coats.
I said it in the air
I sung it on another continent—
Are you wandering into my vocal dust?
In the illusion/limerence
I may become seen tomorrow
With my faith amongst handmade hell
I just feel who some people are
I rarely go to get it
If I must traverse the terrain of talking
Sunk in dandelions/tannin tongue
Chewing maroon droplets
If I must pluck the poisonous berries & pray
Over conditions we may never be
Removed from/improved
I won’t seethe
I’ll sleep sweet peaches
& sense you directly in the head
While I’m fed uncomfortably
Around a color
(first published in Poetry Northwest)
.
.
Phantom S.
.
.
Look around for the side effects.
.
Study the ways in which we work.
.
I told myself to take the secrets & keep them alive.
 .
I had a tiny feud with fear.
 .
You were clutching a cherry-brown cello.
 .
I still daydream, wanting what I don’t know.
 .
I couldn’t honestly love you because I was guilty of envy.
 .
I’ve been nearly numb—a manufactured sense of loss.
 .
I was examining the calligraphy of emotion.
 .
I vanished & brewed some music with paper flames.
 .
Stars lit the room.
 .
It was dark when I scurried back to the well.
 .
I opened a lean book & gently let myself enjoy it.
 .
I dared to stop abusing the raw kindness of another.
(first published in The Journal)
.
.
Fourth Algorithm
.
.
Slow time in the palm of Georgia
 .
I use to show my face
 .
Do you mean nothing?
 .
We ate death slippery
 .
The house was a swallowing coffin
 .
Some get named Charleston
 .
& sleep in Pittsburgh
 .
I march through childhood doors
 .
A hole in a giant leaf
 .
I have trouble naming myself
 .
In a language I can find
 .
What is a stranger?
 .
We are messages
 .
Salt in the corners of eyes
 .
A cup of rainbow tea
 .
How do we fill ourselves?
 .
Sell acts for the habit
 .
I use to show nothing
 .
But what troubles my mind
(first published in Guernica)

 

 

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