Winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Prize
Selected by Marilyn Nelson
Finalist, 2003 Paterson Poetry Prize
“Imagine Leda black—” begins Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon’s exciting new collection of poems. Mixing vernacular language with classical mythology, modern struggles with Biblical trials, she gives voice to silenced women past and present.
In Van Clief-Stefanon’s powerful voice, last night’s angry words “puffed / into the dark room like steam / punching through the thick surface / of cooking grits.” She remembers a child’s innocence “lost / in the house where I learned the red rug / against my chest, my knees / my tongue, . . . .” Black Swan is filled with pain, loss, hope, and the promise of salvation.