Randall Horton


Randall Horton is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award, the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award for Creative Nonfiction and a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. In addition, Randall has been interviewed on Fox News, NPR, CTNPR, CSPAN, the New Haven Register and countless journals, magazines and radio shows. He currently sits on the Advisory Board of Pen America’s Pen Prison Writing Program. In 2018-2019 Randall was selected as Poet-in-Residence for the Civil Rights Corps in Washington DC, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to challenging systemic injustice in the American legal system. Randall has conducted workshops, lectured and toured numerous adult and juvenile detention centers across the nation to provide encouragement and hope for those entangled within the legal system. He is very interested in eradicating the language of incarceration that tends to re-criminalized those entangled in the legal system. Dr. Randall Horton is currently the only tenured Full Professor in the United States of America at a university or college with seven felony convictions. He is a member of the experimental performance group Heroes Are Gang Leaders which recently received the 2018 American Book Award in Oral Literature and their latest musical project, The Baraka Sessions, was named best vocal jazz album by NPR in 20129.. Randall’s latest collection of poetry {#289-128} will be published by the University of Kentucky Press in Fall 2020. Dr. Horton is a Professor of English at the University of New Haven. Source

Before the Beauty .Or. How Could U Forget?

locate the closest overlooked neighborhood — 

      at its core extract all humans living underneath

life’s bootheel. replace with millennials cradling


postcolonial guilt, but not. ignore the woman’s

      cardboard [help] sign tattered, stained & broken

like her: imagine being long-ago unseen, erased


in between the throng, an existing non-entity. ask,

      too, if gun be an instrument what refrain whizzed

soundless amid crestfallen shadows lingering


a decade. go from “a to z” to list the dead — too many

      to name, but try: antoine, byrd, carlos, delante ...    

no deader now than then. still a memory real,


cold steel, shots fired — death, what did we know

      of dying? don’t forget love, a love strangling addicts

caught in a docetic whirlwind with no blue sail.


before the corner becomes distorted remember:

      one more time inhale deep. inhale memory to include

the bad & terrible beauty just beneath the living.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Poems of Place


Literary Devices:


a break between words within a metrical foot


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work


an instruction or a command

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered