Evie Shockley


Evie Shockley is the author of two books of poetry, the new black (Wesleyan UP, 2011) and a half-red sea (Carolina Wren Press, 2006), and two chapbooks, 31 words * prose poems (Belladonna* Books, 2007) and The Gorgon Goddess(Carolina Wren Press, 2001). the new black won the 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry and was also recognized by Library Journal as one of the Best Books of 2011 in Poetry and by the BCALA as a 2012 Honor Book in Poetry. Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Shockley has lived in a variety of states in the South, Midwest, and Northeast, but has yet to take up residence in any place west of the Mississippi River. She currently lives in Jersey City, New Jersey and teaches African American literature and creative writing at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Source

ode to my blackness

you are my shelter from the storm

and the storm

my anchor

and the troubled sea


nights casts you warm and glittering

upon my shoulders some would

say you give off no heat some folks

can’t see beyond the closest star


you are the tunnel john henry died

to carve

i see the light

at the end of you the beginning


i dig down deep and there you are at the root of my blues

you’re all thick and dark, enveloping the root of my blues

seem like it’s so hard to let you go when i got nothing to lose


without you, I would be just

a self of my former shadow





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Intersectionality & Culture

Poetic Form

Literary Devices:


an exclamatory passage in a speech or poem addressed to a person (typically one who is dead or absent) or thing (typically one that is personified)


a lyric poem in the form of an address to a particular subject, often elevated in style or manner and written in varied or irregular meter