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Life’s Prisoners

October 16, 2017


According to poet, essayist, and collagist Uche Nduka, “This splendid poet’s concerns are aesthetically laid bare here—politics, love, philosophy, autobiography, homage. His commitment to his art manifests in chiseled language, brilliant imagery, varied forms, questions, affirmations, heartfelt rebellion. A voice here asks: ‘Is the landscape weeping?’ Another voice answers: ‘The major key is faith.’ The sense of empathy is clear-eyed: ‘The present begs a way to live / together here.’ Dread and unease in this nation are faced, yet ‘lovers remake the news.'”


Life’s Prisoners won the 2017 Turtle Island Poetry award. According to Turtle Island editor Jared Smith, in an introduction to the collection, “Life’s Prisoners is a heroic book, a tightly crafted volume of poetry that grabs you by the collar, shouts in your face, disrespects what should be disrespected, and after waking you up, lets you know that all of us are prisoners in cages we have allowed to be constructed around us. The poems move from staccato fragments of the pictures of a young man’s struggles, fear, and rage toward an indifferent world named and shaped by an unknowable elite, to impassioned pieces on what it is to be a man in such a world, to longer lined discussions of past and current history.”


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Click here to read two poems from the collection at Some Serious Business.

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Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington is the 2021-23 Poet Laureate of Santa Fe, New Mexico. An uprooted Southerner who is now a New Mexican, he has been a professional journalist for the over 20 years, with articles, fiction and poetry in The Nation, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Boston Review, and many other places. His essays on poverty, economic justice, race relations, African American history, civil rights history, and post-Katrina New Orleans have appeared in The Nation, The Progressive, The Christian Science Monitor, The Atlantic, Dissent, Crisis (The NAACP magazine), The Guardian, and many more. He has appeared as a guest on the Tavis Smiley Radio Show and is presently a Writing Fellow at the Center for Community Change in Washington, DC. In the arts (sometimes in life) he loves playing with fire.