“Nikia Chaney in her first full-length book us mouth, writes, ‘something/ heretical in the lay/ of letter,’ and at first glance readers will want to tend to her truth. However, as you push through her lush lyrics and explosive language, you will ‘learn the pattern/of language the cadence, the swift speech.’ How can one help but not swoon and stumble in love on Chaney’s sheer sonic power, her lines reminiscent of Harryette Mullen? Whether Chaney carries the experimentalist torch or not, what is clear is the examination each poem cleaves into us as we rejoice, lament, observe, wail, live. Yes, us mouth makes you trust the life you live, and ‘not your tendency to disappear and dream.’ Such spectacular work!” ―F. Douglas Brown, author of Zero to Three, winner of 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: University of Hell Press (March 1, 2018)
us mouth attempts to speak to the fracturing of intimate relationships, the importance of voice, song, and empathy as an instrument of connection and healing. The poems are filled with wordplay and rhythm to create an intensity of presence of various speakers who cry out in the pain and joy of being alive.
“Poets in the West love space (s), white space, caligrams, margins to the right―us mouth has them all, and yet its emotional dynamics hews close to the essence of the blues. In this new collection, California’s Nikia Chaney opens wide a mouth that bravely, tactlessly, or hungrily decries the fecklessness of men; the anguish of women; their desire for love; and the family torn apart by lies, laws, divorce, violence. us mouth is about that “we” of Black people mostly, but that “we” includes all who desire sex and love…with its “whipped slant” and other memorable phrases. The blues like any form changes with the time and these times call for a poet like Nikia Chaney who matches emotional risk and truth telling with inventiveness and she does so vividly in us mouth.” ―Patricia Spears Jones, author of A Lucent Fire, Painkiller, Femme du Monde, and The Weather That Kills
“The narrative seam that snakes through a list; the way a syllable serves as stitch to line; the hollow of silence a caesura opens in a sentence’s certainties to give language a ledge over which to lean and look: ‘dimensional blades / in / quiet,’ Nikia’s poems split and suture. ‘Where she is testing a moment’ we find the breaks in which we conduct our blooming, in the noise and whip she pulls us toward shade, and source, and spill.” ―Lyrae Van Clief- Stefanon, author of Open Interval and Black Swan
Paperback: 28 pages
Publisher: Cholla Needles (March 14, 2018)
Mapless is a collection of myth, narrative, poetry, art and song that expresses the yearning of love. A stitched ghostfish is both mother and child, human and god, and finally connection. This collage follows the journey of the ghostfish through the ever shifting path of experience toward wholeness and joy.
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Orange Monkey Publishing (2013)
Sis Fuss is a novel in verse about a man named Sis who has just been released from prison. We follow Sis as he reflects on life on the "outside" and desperately tries to reconnect with family.
From the author:
I wrote Sis Fuss from a true sense of frustration with the characterization of black men as criminals. I hated that men who had been to jail and prison were so demonized. I hated the invisibility of their persons and their stories. As a child I grew up listening to the men in my family spin their tales, use word play, and sing their stories. I hoped to capture their voices in Sis's being. Sis is flawed, but in the end he is worthy of love and of being wanted.
For a copy (all books are currently out of stock, please contact me)!
San Bernardino, Singing
Paperback: 278 pages
Publisher: Inlandia Institute (April 30, 2020)
Edited and with a foreword by Nikia Chaney, and featuring the work of more than 48 writers and artists, San Bernardino, Singing, is love song, lullaby, and anthem for this place:
"For those passing through and those who call it home, San Bernardino and its history, its gold desert and its mahogany mountains, always sings."
Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape
Publisher: Scarecrow Press
Editor: Keenan Norris
You already know the topic and the controversy. We want to go deeper.
Our anthology will assemble a collection of scholarly essays, articles, and interviews about street lit. We seek to build upon the short-form commentaries of Gerald Early, Bernice McFadden, Karen Grigsby-Bates, Kristina Graaff, Mark Reynolds and others, and present a wide-ranging exploration of the topic.
This essay collection goes into more extensive and diverse detail than any critical work on the subject has thus far. Not only will we give voice to the competing sides in the debate around street lit’s artistic validity, but the collection also chronicles street lit’s history as a sub-genre within African-American letters about urban spaces dating back decades, the mechanics of its commercial emergence in the 1990s, and its contribution to current understandings of mass incarceration, poverty and violence in America.
Contributors include NAACP Image Award winner Omar Tyree, National Book Award winner Gerald Early, PEN/Faulkner winner David Bradley, NAACP Image Award, Phillis Wheatley Award and California Book Award nominee Arisa White, Cave Canem fellow Nikia Chaney, Harvard W.E.B. DuBois fellow Jaqueline Lima Santos and fellow Brazilian scholar Ana Lucia Silva Souza, UC Berkeley visiting scholar Bonnie Rhee Andreyeyev, University of Alabama doctoral candidate Kemeshia Randle, Texas Southern faculty Kimberly Fain, University of the District of Columbia’s Dr. Cherrie Ann Turpin, Howard University faculty Dennis Winston, poet Juan Delgado (CSU San Bernardino), novelist deb busman (CSU Monterey), African-American literature instructor Alexandria White, San Jose City College professor and UC Davis doctoral candidate Khalid White and actor/activist Lynel Gardner, among others.
Paperback: 122 pages
Publisher: Jamii Publishing (2014)
Edited by Nikia Chaney
Verse/Chorus is a diverse collection of literature written in response to African American history. Coming out of a workshop tradition, this anthology features the work of 27 contributors who wrote poems, stories, and essays about and for African American historical figures. Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Langston Hughes, Son House, Gwendolyn Brooks, Marvin Gaye, and many other great men and women are celebrated in this volume as the contributors "respond" to their works, lives, loves, pain, and joy. Listen to chorus singing, listen to them calling, and respond...