Fantasia for the Man in Blue

Finalist, National Book Awards 2020 for Poetry

ISBN 9781945588495
Four Way Books
Tommye Blount

A Cave Canem alumnus, Tommye Blount is the author of Fantasia for the Man in Blue and the chapbook What Are We Not For. A graduate from Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers, he has been the recipient of scholarships and fellowships from Kresge Arts in Detroit and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

In his debut collection, Fantasia for the Man in Blue, Tommye Blount orchestrates a chorus of distinct, unforgettable voices that speak to the experience of the black, queer body as a site of desire and violence. A black man’s late-night encounter with a police officer – the titular “man in blue” – becomes an extended meditation on a dangerous, erotic fantasy. The late Luther Vandross, resurrected here in a suite of poems, addresses the contradiction between his public persona and a life spent largely in the closet: “It’s a calling, this hunger / to sing for a love I’m too ashamed to want for myself.” In “Aaron McKinney Cleans His Magnum,” the convicted killer imagines the barrel of the gun he used to bludgeon Matthew Shepard as an “infant’s small mouth” as well as the “sad calculator” that was “built to subtract from and divide a town.” In these and other poems, Blount viscerally captures the experience of the “other” and locates us squarely within these personae.

Judges Citation

Sung through a range of captivating voices, Tommye Blount’s Fantasia for the Man in Blue unflinchingly explores Eros, from its balm for pain to its proximity to danger. These dynamic improvisations composed of different forms and styles make vivid the institutional violence always threatening and often perpetrated upon the bodies of Black people. Blount’s vision is circumspect, clarified by empathy, and his poems simultaneously evoke and illustrate astonishment and understanding, outrage and compassion.