Rickey Laurentiis, is the winner of the 2018 Whiting Award for Poetry. He is a Cave Canem Graduate Fellow, the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, as well as fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Washington University in St. Louis. His poems appear or are forthcoming inÊBoston Review, Fence, Kenyon Review, New England Review, New Republic, Poetry, and elsewhere.ÊBorn in New Orleans, Louisiana, he currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
In a landscape at once the brutal American South as it is the brutal mind, Boy with Thorn interrogates the genesis of all poetic creation—the imagination itself, questioning what role it plays in both our fascinations with and repulsion from a national history of racial and sexual violence. The personal and political crash into one language here, gothic as it is supple, meditating on visual art and myth, to desire, the practice of lynching and Hurricane Katrina. Always at its center, though, is the poet himself—confessing a double song of pleasure and inevitable pain.