suddenly we

Finalist, National Book Awards 2023 for Poetry

ISBN 9780819500236
Wesleyan University Press
Author photo of Evie Shockley. (Photo credit: Stéphane Robolin)
Evie Shockley

Poet & literary scholar Evie Shockley thinks, creates, and writes with her eye on a Black feminist horizon. Her books of poetry include suddenly we, semiautomatic, and the new black. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

Evie Shockley’s new poems invite us to dream—and work—toward a more capacious “we”

In her new poetry collection, Evie Shockley mobilizes visual art, sound, and multilayered language to chart routes towards openings for the collective dreaming of a more capacious “we.” How do we navigate between the urgency of our own becoming and the imperative insight that whoever we are, we are in relation to each other? Beginning with the visionary art of Black women like Alison Saar and Alma Thomas, Shockley’s poems draw and forge a widening constellation of connections that help make visible the interdependence of everyone and everything on Earth.

Judges Citation

In suddenly we, we are reminded of our collective entanglements, set against the backdrop of historical, societal, and ecological upheaval, a shared reality that shakes us from modern individualism. Through her ekphrastic responses to creatives and iconoclasts as well as her own innovations in poetic form and page and sonic play, Evie Shockley’s collection invites us into the continual revelation of that interconnectedness that, if we had the courage to see, just might agitate us to act.


Evie Shockley at the 2023 National Book Awards Finalist Reading