Not Without Our Laughter


Not Without Our Laughter


The Black Ladies Brunch Collective’s Poetry Anthology, Not Without Our Laughter, (Mason Jar Press, 2017) is a collection of humorous and joyful poems, riffing on Langston Hughes’s novel Not Without Laughter. It explores topics of family, work, love and sexuality. The women of BLBC believe, like Hughes, that even in these currently tense racial times, laughter and the celebration of life is crucial. Historically, it is what African Americans have done and will continue to do, no matter what challenges face them. 

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Praise for NWOL

The Black Ladies’ Brunch Collective cooks up some hot truth in this house party of a book. We get boogaloo and peas, we even get food in our panties. These poems are the wild that comes just before the cops bust up the party! We bleed glitter and ride a Harley. Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth hook up while Prince goes commando. This party offers therapy too. We do yoga and then burn the yoga mat! These poems heal and believe. They argue and sweat with fever. Thesepoems also survive—just like the amazing women who wrote them. But mostly, these poems laugh—the kind of laughter that keeps us all alive. 
—Joseph Ross, author of ACHE

Not Without Our Laughter is brilliantly addictive. A collection of talented voices that lyrically blends poems full of passion, pain and perseverance in an honest and sobering way. Not Without Our Laughter offers a rare perspective with insight we all need to experience.
—D Watkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Beast Side and The Cook Up

In Not Without Our Laughter, six innovative poets have created a collection that sings and laments, inspires and defies and, above all, celebrates. These poems evoke laughter, sadness, passion and pride through lyrical explorations of what is desired and what is forbidden, what threatens and what helps us endure. Readers will find their own lives reflected here and will return to this collection often to access the joy, honesty and panache it so richly conveys.
—Jane Clarke

Come, celebrate with me these necessary poems of vulnerability and connection, sex and survival, humor and history. 
—Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon

In body-splitting, heart-baring poems, Not Without Our Laughter rocks you nearly sane. The Black Ladies Lunch Collective spill it hard and beautiful: imagine all this machinery just to love. As celeste doaks says: We find divinity wherever the hell we want. 
—Jan Beatty, Jackknife: New and Selected Poems, University of Pittsburgh Press

The first line of the first poem sets the firecracker tone for this book: “I am going out into the world resolved to act bugaloo and bug-eyed.” But it’s the title of that poem—Leaving the House­—tells you all you need to know: no more privacy, no more hiding, no more hush. I wasn't sure what these poets were going to say page to page, but it was clear from the start they’d say it as if running down a big hill, out of breath and eager to take us some place new. The blend of the one and the many, of singular voices and overlapping experiences, gives Not Without Our Laughter the feel of something welded or woven, and stronger for it. This was the most exciting tag team poetry match against silence I’ve ever been to. So I’m going to use a dirty word now—this book is fun. 
—Bob Hicok