Red Clay Suite

In her third book of poems, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers expresses her familiarity with the actual and imaginary spaces that the American South occupies in our cultural lexicon. Her two earlier books of poetry, The Gospel of Barbecue and Outlandish Blues, use the blues poetic to explore notions of history and trauma.  Now, in Red Clay Suite, Jeffers approaches the southern landscape as utopia and dystopia―a crossroads of race, gender, and blood. These poems signal the ending movement of her crossroads blues and complete the last four “bars” of a blues song, resting on the final, and essential, note of resolution and reconciliation. 

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“Anyone who’s had the pleasure of reading Honorée Jeffers’s poems―or of hearing her read them―knows that she’s a blues poet with things to say and new ways of saying them. Red Clay Suite is her best book to date, and a triumph; she uses everyday language and she makes it sing.” Ed Ochester, editor of American Poetry Now: The Pitt Poetry Series Anthology and author of Unreconstructed: Poems New and Selected

“Honorée Jeffers leads with her ear and follows with her rigorous intellect, then adds an emotional depth and fearlessness that make her poems uniquely powerful. This brilliant third book is a thinking woman’s blues that continues to challenge, delight, and terrify.” Elizabeth Alexander, author of the Pulitzer Prize–nominated American Sublime