Shopping Cart Link


Autumn House Press







Sign up for our newsletter







Bookmark and Share
Cart
Cart link
Paperback add to cart


For Educators
View cart
Cover image Click for larger image

The Drowning Boy's Guide to Water
Cameron Barnett




Autumn House
2017 • 96 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry / Poetry - African American

$17.95 Paperback, 978-1-938769-26-9



“As a whole, Cameron Barnett’s “The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water” is a collection of poems reminding us that the racial harmony once envisioned by... [continued in Reviews below]”—Sonja James, The Journal (WV)

Cameron Barnett's debut poetry collection, selected by Ada Limón as winner of the 2017 Rising Writer Contest

Cameron Barnett’s poetry collection, The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water (winner of the 2017 Rising Writer Contest), explores the complexity of race and the body for a black man in today’s America.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

"As a whole, Cameron Barnett’s “The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water” is a collection of poems reminding us that the racial harmony once envisioned by Martin Luther King Jr. is a goal that is as urgent and necessary as ever. King’s Nobel lecture encapsulates the way unity, peace, and love revitalize a people: “Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation.” Barnett’s book only reinforces the need for King’s insistence that love, not hatred, transforms society." http://www.journal-news.net/weekender/2017/09/barnett-explores-complexities-of-americas-race-relations/—Sonja James, The Journal (WV)

“‘Maybe if my blood were blue I’d have three hearts like you,’ Cameron Barnett writes in one of the many imaginative poems of The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water. Maybe Barnett’s blood isn’t blue, but it’s fueled by the clarity and candor of the blues. Moreover, his poems pulse with the generosity of a three-hearted sensibility: ‘one for forgiving, one for forgetting, one for moving on.’ These poems weave the personal and public histories rooted in our natures—our gardens, our spirits, our bodies. Compassionate, shrewd, and mature: this is a marvelous debut.”—Terrance Hayes

“Ceaselessly honest and uncannily self-aware, the poems in The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water dance between grace, music, and truth. With a voice that’s leaning in instead of away, this collection is a lively and necessary debut that cracks open the complications of skin color, love, and the natural world.”—Ada Limón

“Complexity and surprise arrive with each page turn of Cameron Barnett's debut collection, The Drowning Boy's Guide to Water. Barnett's poems push past the “likes” of these digital days toward the deeply difficult work of self-reflection and discomfort. There is no one way to be Black in the United States and these poems affirm that reality. They are an answer to both Black-checking and America's tired legacy of racism. These poems know to be Black is a beautiful and varied state of being. “I was told it was a bad thing,” they admit, and then turn that lie on its head.”—Yona Harvey

From the Book:

The slow silhouette of your pouring is thin
against the wall, and for that I thank you.

I'm walking, floorboards like piano keys, but the air
in the room is just air. The yawn of the glass looms rouge.

I have never been in a mouth so big. Hello, pinot. Hello,
cork dust. Hello, sulfites. You have a way of making

each second feel like two, and tonight is a good night
for ghost stories. The label goes dark. Your neck goes dark.

Wide lips are tinted. When I put your mouth to my ear it's the throat
of the ocean that's the loudest. I will see dead children crawling

up the walls if that's what you want, but don't let them laugh. Goodbye,
pillow. Goodbye, shut eye. Goodbye, nighttime. Thank you for the red

mouth, for complicating my relationship to sweet things. Because
of this, the muscle beneath my teeth is learning to quick twitch.

Awards/Recognition:

Winner of the Rising Writer Contest (2017)


CAMERON BARNETT earned his MFA in poetry at The University of Pittsburgh, where he was poetry editor for Hot Metal Bridge literary magazine and co-coordinator of the Pitt Speakeasy Reading Series. His honors include the O’Donnell Award for Excellence in Poetry from Duquesne University and The Academy of American Poets Graduate Poetry Award from The University of Pittsburgh. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he works as a middle school language arts teacher, and is an associate poetry editor for Pittsburgh Poetry Review. The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water is his first book.



Wed, 18 Oct 2017 13:49:50 -0500