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the skin of dreams is a remembering, an offering and a gathering of geographies. Traversing twenty-three years of earth and breath, Quraysh Ali Lansana’s first new and collected works roadmaps small town Oklahoma to southside Chicago in compelling poems that question, surprise and dare. As a direct descendent of the Black Arts Movement and last student of Miss Gwendolyn Brooks, Lansana explores the complicated internal and external terrain of Blackness and history from a post-King, post-Kennedy childhood through the election of the first non-White president while grappling with the definition of home. These are poems that cry, sing, scream and see.

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The whiskey of our discontent

Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience and Change Agent

Haymarket Books 2017 — anthology, co-editor

Poet, educator, and social activist Gwendolyn Brooks was a singular force in American culture.

The first black woman to be named United States poet laureate, Brook’s poetry, fiction, and social commentary shed light on the beauty of humanity, the distinct qualities of black life and community, and the destructive effects of racism, sexism, and class inequality.

A collection of thirty essays combining critical analysis and personal reflection, The Whiskey of Our Discontent, presents essential elements of Brooks' oeuvre—on race, gender, class, community, and poetic craft, while also examining her life as poet, reporter, mentor, sage, activist, and educator.

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Revise The Psalm

Curbside Splendor Publishing 2017 — Anthology, editor

Work Celebrating The Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks

The year 2017 marks the 100th birthday of the late poet and cultural icon Gwendolyn Brooks. Miss Brooks' depictions of poor and working class African Americans provides insight into the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and her lens on the Great Migration, the era of Black codes, and the Black Power movement interprets and contextualizes current racial inequities and tensions. This collection of poetry, essays, and art inspired by the work of Miss Brooks celebrates her life, writing, and activism.

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A Gift From Greensboro

Penny Candy Books 2016 — Children's Book, author

A Gift from Greensboro (ages 5 & up) is at once an elegy, a celebration of the magic of childhood friendship and adventure, and a meditation on growing up in the wake of the sit-ins that ushered in the Civil Rights Movement. Paired with intricate, brimming-with-life illustrations, this poem recognizes that true friendship knows no boundaries, and this is the true gift from Greensboro.

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The BreakBeat Poets

New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop

Haymarket Books 2015 — Anthology, co-editor

The BreakBeat Poets features 78 poets, born somewhere between 1961-1999, All-City and Coast-to-Coast, who are creating the next and now movement(s) in American letters.
The BreakBeat Poets is for people who love Hip-Hop, for fans of the culture, for people who've never read a poem, for people who thought poems were only something done by dead white dudes who got lost in a forest, and for poetry heads. This anthology is meant to expand the idea of who a poet is and what a poem is for.

The BreakBeat Poets are the scribes recording and remixing a fuller spectrum of experience of what it means to be alive in this moment. The BreakBeat Poets are a break with the past and an honoring of the tradition(s), an undeniable body expanding the canon for the fresher.

This is the first poetry anthology by and for the Hip-Hop generation.  It is for people who love Hip-Hop, for fans of the culture, for people who've never read a poem, for people who thought poems were only something done by dead white dudes who got lost in a forest, and for poetry heads.  This anthology is meant to expand the idea of who a poet is and what a poem is for. 

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Mongrel Empire Press 2014 — Collection of poems, co-author

Quraysh Ali Lansana is from Enid, OK. Christopher Stewart was raised in Dallas, small Texas towns, and Chicago neighborhoods. A white man and a black man born in post Kennedy, post-King southern and midwestern USA, though both disagree with those geographical tags. Through these poems, the poets assert that their births, their ways of seeing, and their pains are rooted in what Ali Lansana's OU film professor termed "The Walmart Republic," a land where shopping center is community center. Where the failures of the father are re-learned in the lessons of the son. As poet Elise Paschen declares, "Quraysh Ali Lansana and Christopher Stewart pack the punch in these gritty poignant poems. Their poetic techniques counterpoint each other from lyric narratives to sharp edgy sonic bursts, creating a novel-like narrative. We follow two different journeys which begin in the Bible Belt and reach adulthood in places across the map. These gutsy poems explore identity and race against the backdrop of an ever-changing America."

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Willow Books/Aquarius Press 2012 — Collection of poems, author

"mystic turf is the poetry that bears your name, like the very earth you walk upon and christen with your strides. In these poems that lyrically insinuate in brief yet lasting notes, Quraysh Ali Lansana tags the nervous streets, American foothills, domestic rooms and memories that constitute our bluesy soul, and asks, why can't we speak the grace we all avoid? We have no slipperiness here, just the solid walkings and meditations of a man poised in his life to speak the grace he's earned and to speak his journey with enormous dignity and artfulness." 

— Major Jackson, author of Holding Company

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A Guide to Poetry, Literacy, and Social Justice in Classroom and Community 

Teachers & Writers Collaborative 2011 — Non-Fiction, co-author

In Our Difficult Sunlight, Quraysh Ali Lansana and Georgia Popoff demonstrate the power of poetry in the K-12 classroom. Drawing on their combined thirty years as teaching artists, the authors explore the terrain of the 21st-century public school and outline strategies for using the reading and creation of poetry to improve students' reading comprehension and writing skills. Highlighting best practices, exercises, and anecdotes rooted in their diverse experiences as a Chicago-based, African American poet/professor and a Caucasian poet/educator from upstate New York, Lansana and Popoff offer insights into how engaging young people in writing and sharing poetry can break down barriers to learning, aid in exploration of critical issues, and foster connections among students and teachers from very different backgrounds.


blood soil (sooner red)

Voices From The American Land 2009 — Collection of poems, author

In bloodsoil (sooner red), his voice recounts his youth in Oklahoma, and in an America where five months after Quraysh’s birth in 1964, El-Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X) was gunned down, where Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered when Q was three, and his grade school shut down due to desegregation when he was 11. His five older siblings carried these sorrows and instructed him, the youngest, in pride and resistance. His poems remember family: his sister Charolette whose photo on a carousel pony is the book’s cover. But he especially remembers mutha (Grandma Anna) and his aunties singing in a Texas or Oklahoma church, testifying in a red dirt praise house where a narrow rift divides poetry and song. Quraysh still hears the cadences of their rock and hum when between prayers they tilled poetry with blood and sweat.

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dream of a word

Tia Chucha Press 2005 — Anthology, co-editor

Since 1989, Tia Chucha Press has been a leader in publishing artistically innovative and culturally provocative voices in poetry. The roster of poets the Press has brought to publication reflects a deep commitment to diversity and features established artists, such as Elizabeth Alexander, Virgil Suarez, and Diane Glancy, as well as first books by award-winning poets Terrance Hayes, A. Van Jordan, and Patricia Smith. Tia Chucha Press has had a powerful impact on the literary world as a very important first press for many poets and a respectable, high quality press for all. Dream of a Word is more than a book of poetry; it is a fifteen year archive of real American life, a testament of democracy in verse, from the gritty streets of East Los Angeles to lonely Indiana avenues. The work in this anthology explores the tough and the tender, the personal as political, with humor, passion, humanity, and grace. Dream of a Word includes study guides and writing exercises suitable for middle school, high school, and college-aged learners. Both thematic and craft issues are highlighted. 

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They Shall run

Harriet tubman poems

Third World Press 2004 — Collection of poems, author

These poems trace the journeys of the great Black historical figure Harriet Tubman and her fugitives through the backwoods of America.

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Role Call

Third World Press 2002 — anthology, co-editor

a generational anthology of social and political black literature and art 

"Welcome to the 21st Century" bids the opening line of this literary "multimedia" experience, brought to us by three leading Black author-activists of the post-Civil Rights Movement generation. This collection of more than 300 poems, essays, paintings, photos, and mixed media representations features myriad voices of the generation bridging the gap between the children of the Civil Rights Movement and those of the present hip hop movement.

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