I've probably read Cannibal three times through by now, but still manage to glean something new with each reading. Sinclair has opened my empathy to a culture that is otherwise inaccessible to me, boldly challenging xenophobia with vibrant and unapologetically heavy imagery.
Sinclair is a classic-in-waiting and I cannot wait for the day she is taught alongside Maya Angelou and James Baldwin.
— From Avery
Colliding with and confronting The Tempest and postcolonial identity, the poems in Safiya Sinclair’s Cannibal explore Jamaican childhood and history, race relations in America, womanhood, otherness, and exile. She evokes a home no longer accessible and a body at times uninhabitable, often mirrored by a hybrid Eve/Caliban figure. Blooming with intense lyricism and fertile imagery, these full-blooded poems are elegant, mythic, and intricately woven. Here the female body is a dark landscape; the female body is cannibal. Sinclair shocks and delights her readers with her willingness to disorient and provoke, creating a multitextured collage of beautiful and explosive poems.
About the Author
Safiya Sinclair was born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica. She is the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and a Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, the Kenyon Review, Boston Review, Gulf Coast, the Gettysburg Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Sinclair received her MFA in poetry from the University of Virginia and is a Dornsife Doctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California.
"Stunning debut collection"—Publishers Weekly starred review
"Reading (and rereading) Sinclair is an urgently necessary, absolutely unparalleled experience."—Diego Báez, Booklist starred review
"This award-winning collection comes to eat you."—Waxwing Literary Journal
“Safiya Sinclair writes strange, mythological, gorgeously elaborate lyric poems, with a diction that is both arcane and contemporary. . . . Her language is distinctive, assured, and a marvel to read.”—Cathy Park Hong, from her introduction to Safiya Sinclair in the Boston Review
“Cannibal is nothing less than an entrancing debut that reveals the teeming intellect and ravishing lucidity of a young poet in full possession of her literary powers. Here is a poetry that richly interrogates power and history while also eloquently and furtively asserting the possibilities of nature, desire, and the body as ceremonial and spiritual sources of resistance and affirmation.”—Major Jackson, author of Roll Deep
“With exquisite lyrical precision, Safiya Sinclair is offering us a new muscular music that is as brutal as it is beautiful. Intelligent and elemental, these poems mark the debut of a poet who is dangerously talented and desperately needed.”—Ada Limón, author of Bright Dead Things