Blue in Green

Blue in Green

Chiyuma Elliott


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Poems that address interpersonal connections while navigating life and care amid disease and disaster.
Collaboration runs through the heart of this collection. Human relationships—particularly in families—shape the poems in Blue in Green, as they consider how the question of what we expect from one another evolves into a question of what we owe. When cancer overshadows the ordinary—engrossing the labor of love, work, and friendship—disease becomes a collaborator and proposes new rules of exchange. 
The forms of Elliott’s works highlight reciprocity. Here you’ll find ekphrastic poems that describe modern jazz songs, letters and letter fragments, and free verse poems in wildly variable line lengths. “When I was a wave,” the speaker repeats, each time telling a different story about intimacy and risk. Blue in Green moves through the struggle of processing the damaging interpersonal reverberations of racism, sexism, and environmental damage, while navigating intertwined personal and political incarnations of care. While a slow-growing disease burns its way through the speaker’s body, these poems reveal the feeling of perpetually existing in the shadow of catastrophe and document the slow and strange process of coming to terms with that way of living.


Chiyuma Elliott:
Chiyuma Elliott is assistant professor of African American studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of At Most, California Winter League, and Vigil. A former Stegner Fellow, Elliott has published poems in the African American ReviewNotre Dame Review, PN Review, and Callaloo, among others. She has received fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, Cave Canem, and the Vermont Studio Center.