Safiya Sinclair

The Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry Series

126 pages


September 2016


$17.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

September 2016


$17.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

September 2016


$17.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

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. 

Author Bio

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 ReviewBoston Review, Gulf Coast, the Gettysburg ReviewPrairie 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

Table of Contents


In Childhood, Certain Skies Refined My Seeing
Fisherman’s Daughter
Portrait of Eve as the Anaconda
Dreaming in Foreign
Family Portrait
I Shall Account Myself a Happy Creaturess
After the Last Astronauts Had Left Us, I
Notes on the State of Virginia, I
America the Beautiful
Another White Christmas in Virginia
One Hundred Amazing Facts About the Negro, with Complete Proof, I
One Hundred Amazing Facts About the Negro, with Complete Proof, II
One Hundred Amazing Facts About the Negro, with Complete Proof, III
Notes on the State of Virginia, II
White Apocrypha
Notes on the State of Virginia, III
Notes on the State of Virginia, IV
Elocution Lessons with Ms. Silverstone
Notes on the State of Virginia, V
Litany for Charlottesville
Notes on the State of Virginia, VI
Prayer Book for Vanishing
Good Hair
Woman, Wound
Woman, 26, Remains Optimistic as Body Turns to Stone
How to Be an Interesting Woman: A Polite Guide for the Poetess
Birthmark, or Purifying at the Sink
Little Red Plum
Center of the World
After the Last Astronauts Had Left Us, II (Laika)
How to Excise a Tumor
August Ghost
A Separation
In the Event of the Last Unhappiness, Return to the Sea
August in the Country of Another
The Art of Unselfing
Crania Americana


2017 ALA's RUSA Notable Books List
2017 Addison M. Metcalf Award

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