2022 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award Longlist
A visceral, vital, unblinking debut collection of poems exploring kinesthetic memory and longing, inherited violence, and the body as a geographical site.
We're often told that we are given only what we can bear. For some of us our first lessons are in how much pain we're made to think we deserve—and the resulting scars are always meant to be kept secret. Assiyah Jamilla Touré's debut collection is a record of those scars—not those inflicted on us by the thousands of little wars we live in everyday, but those that come afterwards, those we inflict upon ourselves to mark the path.
Each and every poem in Autowar was written on a cell phone, transcribing an urgent revisiting of old sites of pain, and also a revisiting of one young person's power and ability—to hurt themself, or others. These poems are powerful evocations of how even our scars have worlds and lives.
here in the dark, me-space
i am insatiable for my flesh
i just can't get enough
of tiny after-wounds
that's me giving, still too soft
for my own teeth
About the author
Assiyah Jamilla Touré is multidisciplinary artist of West African descent. She was born and raised on Skwxwú7mesh land and lived for many years in Kanien'kehà:ka territory (Montreal) and is now based on the lands of the Mississaugas of the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Wendat (Toronto). In 2018 her chapbook feral was published by House House Press. Autowars is her first full-length collection.
"Assiyah Jamilla writes with a unique genius that only belongs to those spirits of epochal change. Poems that are all at once a physicist's altar, a musician's trance, a reporter's gun. Our current definitions of the most sacred facets of the human journey cannot keep up with the phenomenal-architectural demands of this work. Read these poems to witness an enlightenment begin again." — Tongo Eisen-Martin, author of Heaven Is All Goodbyes