Synopses & Reviews
The stirring debut from the winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, selected and introduced by Chris Abani
Heed the Hollow introduces the work of Malcolm Tariq, whose poems explore the concept of "the bottom" across blackness, sexuality, and the American South. These lyrics of queer desire meet the voices of enslaved ancestors to reckon with a lineage of trauma that manifests as silence, pain, and haunting memories, but also as want and love. In bops, lyrics, and erasures, Heed the Hollow tells of a heritage anchored to the landscape of the coastal South, to seawalls shaped by forced labor, and to the people "marked into the bottom / of history where then now / we find no shadow of life." From that shadow, the voices in these poems make their own brightness, reclaiming their histories from a language that evolved to exclude them.
"Like a name carved deep in the bark of a tree, Tariq's assured, ineradicable verse presses the poet into a lamentable history and makes it his own." Oprah.com
"Heed the Hollow interrogates the linguistics of being, the verb and noun of what it means to be human, as well as to be history, to be present and sexualized and loved, to be full and hollow. Tariq is asking, gorgeously, a question, and allows anyone to answer." BookPage (Starred Review)
"Malcolm Tariq's Heed the Hollow charts a neglected history, reinscribing a loved and loving black body into a narrative of excavation. These poems are lyrically complex, charged, artfully and erotically made. This is a rare and exciting debut." Chris Abani, judge's statement for the Cave Canem Poetry Prize
"With beguiling shade and a sensuous portrait of bottom epistemology, [Tariq] delivers upon us bittersweet experiences of black queer life in the South. . . . I cannot unhear these poems. . . . I surrender all to Heed the Hollow." E. Patrick Johnson
About the Author
Malcolm Tariq is from Savannah, Georgia, and is the author of Extended Play, winner of the 2017 Gertrude Press Poetry Chapbook Contest. A graduate of Emory University, he has a PhD in English from the University of Michigan. He lives in New York.