Known for his energetic, urgent poems, Sands dives headfirst into the intersections of personal revelation and deep-cut pop culture in his new book, drawing on voices from his private world and the public sphere to create a timely portrait of his youth. "Opening with a question, Jon Sands invites us into a personal journey that is at once comic, deadly serious, beautifully meditative, and completely within the praxis of being human," notes poet Willie Perdomo in early praise for the book. "It’s Not Magic is the truth at rapid speed and a bounty of innovation." And writer Patricia Smith calls Sands "the raconteur we've been waiting for."
From jaunts through New York subways, to a Cincinnati Waffle House, to a chance encounter with one’s future life partner, Sands writes in turns autobiographically and imaginatively, drawing on voices from his private world and the public sphere to create an urgent portrait of youth that is almost rebellious in its sheer, persistent joy. Nostalgic and vivid, this collection of poems is written reverie. Selected by Richard Blanco, Jon Sands is the winner of the 2018 National Poetry Series.
Jon Sands is the author of The New Clean and the cohost of The Poetry Gods podcast. His work has been featured in the New York Times and anthologized in The Best American Poetry. He’s received residencies and fellowships from the Blue Mountain Center, the Brooklyn Arts Council, the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, and the Jerome Foundation. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Eboni Hogan is a Brooklyn-based multi-disciplinary artist who has performed in over 65 U.S. cities, as well as internationally in Ghana, Germany, and Austria. She is the 2012 Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion, a Pushcart Prize nominee and the recipient of the 2018 Friends of Literature prize. Her plays "Foreign Bodies" and "30,000 Teeth" were featured at The National Black Theater of Harlem, The Living Theater, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe and in The Culture Project's Women Center Stage Festival.
Phil Kaye's work has been featured in settings ranging from The New Yorker to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and viewed millions of times online. He has performed his original work in twenty countries and was invited to open for His Holiness The Dalai Lama for the celebration of his 80th birthday. A former teacher of weekly poetry workshops in maximum security prisons, Phil was the head coordinator of Space in Prisons for the Arts and Creative Expression (SPACE). He is the current co-director of Project VOICE, a National Poetry Slam finalist, and his book, Date & Time, was published in 2018 by Button Poetry.
Lauren Whitehead is a writer, performer and MFA recipient in Dramaturgy (Columbia University). She writes in several forms including poetry, nonfiction, adaptations and drama. Her writings have been published in Apogee Journal, Winter Tangerine, HEArt Online Journal and in selected anthologies including Break Beat Poets, Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic. Most recently, Lauren adapted Ta-Nehisi Coates’ award winning memoir, “Between the World and Me,” for staging at the Apollo Theater and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts (Dir. Kamilah Forbes). Last fall, Lauren originated the leading role of “Un/Sung” in the opera “We Shall Not Be Moved” which she has performed at the Wilma Theater, the Apollo Theater and at the Stadsschouwburg Theater in Amsterdam (Dir. Bill T. Jones). Lauren is a Sundance Theater Lab Fellow and she has worked as a dramaturg at Hedgebrook and at The Denver Center for Performing Arts. Her work as a writing coach was featured in the full length documentary, “Don’t Be Nice” and on the HBO documentary series, "Russell Simmons Presents: Brave New Voices." She teaches writing workshops around the country as well as courses in dramaturgy and global theater at The New School for Drama in New York.
Dr. Adam Falkner is a poet, educator and arts & culture strategist. He is the author of Adoption (Winner of the 2017 Diode Editions Chapbook Award) and The Willies (forthcoming from Button Poetry, 2020), and his work has appeared in a range of print and media spaces including on programming for HBO, NBC, NPR, BET, in the New York Times, and elsewhere. A former high school English teacher in New York City’s public schools, Adam is the Founder and Executive Director of the pioneering diversity consulting initiative, the Dialogue Arts Project, and Special Projects Director for Urban Word NYC. Adam has toured the United States as a guest artist, lecturer and trainer for thousands of students, educators and culture workers, and was the featured performer at President Obama’s Grassroots Ball at the 2009 Presidential Inauguration. He holds a Ph.D. in English and Education from Columbia University.