Black Lawrence Press
November 28, 2018

Welcome back, Abayomi Animashaun!

This month we are celebrating the titles that we’ve acquired during 2018. These manuscripts came to us through our open reading periods. Today we bring you Abayomi Animashaun, author of the poetry collection Seahorses, which will be published in early 2020. This will be Abayomi’s fifth title 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.

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The Author

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Abayomi Animashaun is the author of two poetry collections, Sailing for Ithaca and The Giving of Pears, and editor of two anthologies, Walking the Tightrope: Poetry and Prose by LGBTQ Writers from Africa and Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences, and Writing in America. He teaches writing and literature at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh and lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin with his wife and two children.

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On writing Seahorses

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Seahorses is perhaps my most pared down volume and maybe my most confessional. My approach to the book was initially scattered. I went through what seemed like a long period of trying to balance my innate need to write with my responsibilities as a father. And, for someone like me, someone for whom poetry happens slowly, it was a steep learning curve. It was this need, however, to hold both spheres of my life together, and bring them into conversation with each other, that allowed me to break into metaphors that years ago I couldn’t conceive and reenter those I felt were available to me.
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Excerpts from Seahorses

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Standing in the Ruins
of Gomorrah
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Here
A house stood
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Where widows
Begged alms
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Shared bread
And kissed at night.
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Here
A prophet
Sat with prostitutes
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And of the little
They gave
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He drank with joy
And ate.
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Beside these walls
A drunk rose from stupor
Pushed aside bottles
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Swearing god spoke
And he’d heard the call.
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And here –
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The night before
This town was
Burnt down –
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My father broke fruit
With the same brother
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That for years
Took his wife.
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–First published in Ruminate Magazine
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Monasteries
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Count them lucky
Who have them within
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Who feel no need
To follow prophets
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To distant islands
Or remote beaches
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Where salvation is assured
And paradise promised,
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Who, seated as they are,
Remain beside altars
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Where blue and green
Sing arias.
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In them, Night,
With a thousand yellow lights,
Braids its hair,
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And bathes with waters
From dark village wells.