DéLana R.A. Dameron

My relationship to the South (always capital S) is complicated, and loaded. But there will always be reverence and love. I had to put distance between us to know how to love it, to appreciate what it gave me, to understand what it might have taken away. Only lately have I been able to articulate, or understand, that I moved to New York City in order to know how to love the South — and myself — better.
 
 

South Carolina Poetry Book Prize

Author of the poetry collections, Weary Kingdom and How God Ends Us

 
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Kristen Radtke

I don’t think choosing forms is ever a conscious decision, at least not for me. The best thing I can do for myself is follow my intuition — to write, or draw, in the direction I feel compelled to move...I think we have to do whatever we can to carve out a space in which we can create, and guard it ferociously.
 
 

Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick

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DéLana R.A. Dameron has scored us a space brimmed with memory and light, a song of migration and family that shimmers and burns across the page. Her poems trance subways and kudzu and pepper spray across a Mason Dixon trail of family and loves. Witness these epistles to beetle and moth, to river bend voices blooming in an embattled cityscape that weaves us whole.
— Pulitzer Prize winner Tyehimba Jess on Weary Kingdom
What a refreshing range of vision DéLana R.A. Dameron shows in these splendid poems. Ever rich with the arresting image, ever graceful and yet refusing to look away from a suffering that calls grace into question— from “the ‘assemblies of the shattered / in Harlem’ to the steady inevitability of how the flesh must fail us,”— these poems argue for witness as the only way of knowing, —of being somehow grateful for —a world that is always leaving us, even as we ourselves must leave it.
— Carl Phillips on How God Ends Us

A native of Columbia, South Carolina and a Cave Canem fellow, DéLana R.A. Dameron’s profoundly moving and accomplished poems address black southern narratives, black migration, history, and culture, as well as racial tensions in the North and South. Using language both lyrical and plain spoken, her writing blends the mythic with the quotidian, the spiritual with the concrete, crafting a complex and compelling celebration of black life and urging us to consider radical ways of existing in and transforming our world.

In addition to How God Ends Us, selected by Elizabeth Alexander for the South Carolina Poetry Book Prize, and Weary Kingdom, selected by Nikky Finney for the Palmetto Poetry Series,  Dameron’s writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, ARTS.BLACK, Storyscape Journal, The Rumpus, Epiphany Magazine, and elsewhere. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and New York University's MFA program, she has conducted readings, workshops, and lectures across the US, Central America, and Europe. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, where she is an arts and culture administrator.

 

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