Staceyann Chin’s first published collection of poems, Crossfire: A Litany for Survival, was published in 2019; here at Autostraddle, Jehan described how she “…guzzled it down in a day and a half, unable to stop thinking about it even when I wasn’t reading. It’s the tonic I needed and that I hadn’t realized I’d been thirsting for.” It locates itself powerfully within “a powerful lineage of queer black writers,” and investigates Black queer life, the complexities of community, and the long arcs of harm and healing. In 2019, Chin told us:
I’m thinking of how we bruise each other. I mean, the bruising of each other is inevitable. What’s most important, I imagine, is how we deal with that fact. That is maybe the true mark of the kind of human you are. What’s the imprint you leave on someone? Because it’s not that you never hurt them. There’s no relationship in which there is no hurt. But it’s the way that people deal with that hurt that makes it tolerable or not.
Jehan has described this book as having “a timeless quality,” and at the same time, Stacyeann Chin’s work on legacies of violence and colonialism as well as how we reckon with and address them provides something urgent and invaluable in the current moment. We’re glad, then, to bring you through Haymarket Books this new and gripping performance of the book’s title poem, directed by Sekiya Dorsett of Seabreeze Media.