“There are reasons why this book should be put in a capsule and sent into space so everyone in the next galaxy could see, hear, and understand, what it was to be black in America. Heritage. Heritage. Heritage, from the poet’s great-great grandfather; to the poems in Harriet Tubman’s voice.”
-Grace Cavalieri, Washington Independent Review of Books
“Reading these gripping, and, at times, funny poems is an education and delight as they chart a poet’s evolution from childhood infatuations to youthful trials to fatherhood and middle age . . . The Skin of Dreams is a robust must-read, a perfect addition to every poetry collection.”
-Raúl Niño Booklist, Starred Review
“Quraysh Ali Lansana has woven a roadmap of poems and prophecy from Tulsa to Chicago, slowly breaking open the voices of history with each step. Here is a friendship journey, a father/son Southside Chi meditation for the 21st century blues. Follow the path on these pages to enter your own skin.”
-Tyehimba Jess, Pulitzer Prize winner, Olio
“In Quraysh Ali Lansana, we find our griot singing both his history and our own in the skin of dreams, and what a soulful chord he strikes—and has been striking!—throughout the years. There’s ‘language echoing itself,’ extending the cadences of Chicago and Tulsa and beyond, and finding the music in them. ‘I mean these words/ these words I mean,’ they celebrate the work put in and they chronicle the dedication Lansana has put into keeping history current, chronicling the human experience through the African American presence. In this gift of New and Selected poems, he ‘captures present moments fleeting seconds’ understanding ‘we will never be here again,’ but we’re grateful for his song, which keeps harkening back while pushing us forward.”
-A. Van Jordan, Author of Rise and Quantum Lyrics
"Lansana puts together yet another superb tribute to Brooks in her centenary year, following Revise the Psalm (2017), teaming with Popoff to assemble this lively and challenging anthology."
"In the hands of Gwendolyn Brooks, old age is a diamond with many facets. Throughout her poetry Brooks has illuminated old age as a time of isolation and withdrawal, remembrance and continuity, poverty, vulnerability, even homelessness, exploitation, neglect, abandonment, marginalization and destruction. And, yet, she offered resistance and affirmation."
''A Gift From Greensboro is just that . . . an accessible, layered, and utterly moving treasure for children and their parents. Lansana's gorgeously illustrated poem tells a story about what was, what is, and what's possible as it pertains to race relations in a country that is split at the root. Its tale of interracial friendship against a backdrop of historic division is a perfect tool for parents who wish to engage in dialogues with their children about the world that they are inheriting, which is to say, a world they have the power to change.''
"The BreakBeat Poets book release party is more than a poetry reading, as the anthology itself is more than a compilation of iambic pentameter. It starts with the editors, two of whom are the city's most illustrious performance poets, Kevin Coval and Quraysh Ali Lansana, the perfect creative minds to oversee this book created for the hip-hop community."
“Quraysh Ali Lansana and Christopher Stewart are an evocative and memorable match made in the Southwest in The Walmart Republic. They offer us clarity about our collective history. Their testimonies are distinct: one solid lyricism, the next of careful, muscular phrasings in strokes like Jacob Lawrence. Then there is a crescendo of sorrow, outrage, humor and memory. And at last a harmony sometimes bitter, but always balm.”
— Angela Jackson
In this reflective, starkly personal book, this daring exploration of memories both melancholy and revelatory, Quraysh Ali Lansana has shattered that insistent barrier that often separates us from our own histories. These melodic, unflinching vignettes chronicle a search for a definitive root, and the poet's journey mesmerizes, entertains, surprises and inspires.
“Because we know the story of Harriet Tubman as well as we know the story of Moses, to whom she is so often and aptly compared, Lansana's songlike poems conjure up familiar, even sacred images of runaway slaves, seekers of freedom, negotiating rough terrain in the dark of night. The opening poem in this evocative cycle pays homage to artist Jacob Lawrence, who also found inspiration in Tubman's spiritual valor, and like Lawrence, Lansana keeps his forms simple and strong. Spare yet resonant, his poems, most in Harriet's voice, convey all the danger and hope of the underground slave revolt, and offer a graceful paean to a great American hero.”
In these uncertain and unimaginably violent times, many writers find themselves questioning the relevance of the work they do. For the young writers in Role Call, the question is moot. Their passionate voices are already about the work of creating a new language, a wider context, a deeper understanding and a more lasting peace. They already know that silence equals death. Role Call is the voice of a generation determined not only to change the way we write, but the way we live.