Hafizah Augustus Geter


Hafizah Augustus Geter is the author of the memoir The Black Period: On Personhood, Race, and Origin (Penguin Random House, 2022), as well as the collection Un-American (Wesleyan University Press, 2020). Born in Zaria, Nigeria, Geter received her BA in English and economics from Clemson University, her MFA in poetry from Columbia College Chicago, and her MFA in nonfiction from New York University. Geter’s poems have appeared in Boston ReviewNarrative MagazineThe New Yorker, and Tin House, among others. She is a literary agent at Janklow & Nesbit and lives in Brooklyn, New York, on Lenape land. Source

Praise Song

After she died, I’d catch her

stuffing my nose with pine needles and oak,

staring off into the shadows of early morning.

Me, too jetlagged for the smells a ghost leaves behind.

The tailor of histories,

my mother sewed our Black Barbies and Kens

Nigerian clothes, her mind so tight against

the stitching, that in precision, she looked mean

as [     ], too. My mother’s laugh was a record skipping,

so deep she left nicks in the vinyl.

See? Even in death, she wants to be fable.

I don’t know what fathers teach sons,

but I am moving my mother

to a land where grief is no longer

gruesome. She loved top 40, yacht rock,

driving in daylight with the wind

wa-wa-ing through her cracked window

like Allah blowing breath

over the open bottle neck of our living.

She knew ninety-nine names for God,

and yet how do I remember her—

as what no god could make?





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Death & Loss


Intersectionality & Culture

Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


A word that, when spoken aloud, has a sound that is associated with the thing or action being named.

Sensory Detail

words used to invoke the five senses (vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell)


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”