Through letters to James Baldwin, encounters with Soca, Carnival, family secrets, love affairs, questions of aesthetics and more, Miller powerfully and imaginatively recounts everyday acts of racism and prejudice from a black, male, queer perspective. An almost disarmingly personal collection, Kei dissects his experiences in Jamaica and Britain, working as an artist and intellectual, making friends and lovers, discovering the possibilities of music and dance, literary criticism, culture, and storytelling.
With both the epigrammatic concision and conversational cadence of his poetry and novels, Things I Have Withheld is a great artistic achievement: a work of innovation and beauty which challenges us to interrogate what seems unsayable as well as "our actions, defense mechanisms, imaginations and interactions" and those of the world around us.
"This book is tender and magnificent. An expression of the thoughts and feelings we rarely share -- about race, gender, and nationality -- from a poet of incredible skill." -- Left Bank Books' Jeff Sjerven
Praise for Things I Have Withheld:
BOMB Magazine's Editor's Choice
"Reverent and forthright." —BOMB Magazine
"Entrancing... Miller vividly depicts the ways colonialism, racism, homophobia, and privilege have shaped his life . . . Sharp as blades, [his] words cut to the core." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Miller's storytelling is impeccable, and his verse is arresting and beautiful. Things I Have Withheld is a remarkable contribution to literature." —De'Shawn Winslow, author of In West Mills
Praise for Kei Miller
"Miller's writing has a cool immediacy [that] gives more than a nod to García Márquez" --Guardian
"[His work] seduces and shocks you even as it wrestles with the very nature of storytelling itself." --Marlon James
About our Speakers
Kei Miller is a Jamaican poet, essayist, and novelist, shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award and winner of the prestigious Forward poetry prize for his collection The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion. His story collection Fear of Stones was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book, and his most recent novel, Augustown was a finalist for the PEN Open Book Award, and won the Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the Prix Les Afriques, and the Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe et du Tout-Monde. In 2010, the Institute of Jamaica awarded him the Silver Musgrave medal for his contributions to Literature and in 2018 he was awarded the Anthony Sabga medal for Arts & Letters. He has taught at the Universities of Glasgow, Royal Holloway and Exeter and, in 2019, he was the Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor to the University of Iowa.
Rajiv Mohabir, an immigrant to the United States, is the author of The Cowherd 's Son (Tupelo Press 2017, winner of the 2015 Kundiman Prize; Eric Hoffer Honorable Mention 2018) and The Taxidermist's Cut (Four Way Books 2016, winner of the Four Way Books Intro to Poetry Prize, Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry in 2017), and translator of I Even Regret Night: Holi Songs of Demerara (1916) (Kaya Press 2019) which received a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant Award. His memoir Antiman received Reckless Books' New Immigrant Writing Prize. He received his PhD in English from the University of Hawai'i, Mānoa and his MFA in Poetry from Queens College, CUNY. Currently he is an Assistant Professor of poetry in the MFA program at Emerson College. He lives in the Boston area.
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