WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Shanta Lee's poetry collection, "Black Metamorphoses," in which a reckoning of the past invites readers to sift through known and unknown parts of history through verse, collective historical memory, and mythos of the forcibly traveled Black body, was released by Etruscan Press.
"Black Metamorphoses" pierces a 2,000-plus-year-old veil inspired by a range of Ovidian myths while resisting a direct conversion of the work. This collection explores the Black psyche, body and soul through inversion and brazen confrontation of work that has shaped Western civilization. In a poetic range of forms, voices and rhythms, the reader is bathed in ancestral memory, myth and a sense of the timelessness of the shapeshifting, resilient Black body.
This complete volume of work enters into another level of conversation with original interior illustrations created by visual artist Alan Blackwell. These illustrations create an additional kind of text and layer of mythos for the reader and are also featured in a four-minute book trailer, online at youtu.be/q0lr4krpZnA.
"Sometimes you have to reach far and wide to get at the truth," writes Pablo Medina ("Foreigner's Song: New and Selected Poems," Tiger Bark Press, 2021). "The reaching is the 'birthing [of a] new alphabet for desire.' Shanta Lee is in search of that new language, an unbroken path to the truth. Inspired by Ovid, her Black Metamorphoses fuses new poetry with old forms to make things right through needful change. The travesty of slavery and the discovery of hope 'bring us nectar that bathes wounds.' Read this book and be dazzled into a new way of seeing."
Shanta Lee is the Brattleboro area author of the poetry collection "GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues," winner of the 2020 Diode Editions full-length book prize and the 2021 Vermont Book Award.
"Black Metamorphoses" was named a finalist in the 2021 Hudson Prize, shortlisted for the 2021 Cowles Poetry Book Prize and longlisted for the 2021 Idaho poetry prize. Shanta Lee is the 2020 recipient of the Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts and 2020 and the 2020 gubernatorial appointee to the Vermont Humanities Council's board of directors. She has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction and Poetry from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, an MBA from the University of Hartford and an undergraduate degree in Women, Gender and Sexuality from Trinity College.
Housed at Wilkes University and partnering with Youngstown State University, Etruscan is a nonprofit national literary press working to produce and promote books that nurture the dialogue among genres, cultures, and voices. Etruscan publishes books of poems, novels, short stories, creative nonfiction, criticism, translation, and anthologies.
Etruscan was one of four finalists for the 2021 AWP Small Press Publisher Award. Three works from Etruscan's collection of poetry were named finalists for the National Book Award, and another was named to the Longlist (the NBA's "Top Ten" in poetry).