REFUSE | Poetry, 2018
Winner of the 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Prize | Published by University of Pittsburgh Press
Set against the backdrop of the Obama presidency, Julian Randall’s Refuse documents a young biracial man’s journey through the mythos of Blackness, Latinidad, family, sexuality and a hostile American landscape. Mapping the relationship between father and son caught in a lineage of grief and inherited Black trauma, Randall conjures reflections from mythical figures such as Icarus, Narcissus and the absent Frank Ocean. Not merely a story of the wound but the salve, Refuse is a poetry debut that accepts that every song must end before walking confidently into the next music.
“And no matter who would dare an argument, or seek to deny Randall’s utter personhood, Refuse is an inscription that won’t allow erasure.”
– Vievee Francis, Author of Forest Primeval
“Though these poems meddle in binaries and duality, they refuse to split the body and instead reveal the biracial bi voice haunting these pages as whole and wholly original. This debut joins that great lineage of Cave Canem Prize winners, and, once again, gives us not just a spellbinding collection of poetry, but announces a new and necessary voice in Black poetics.”
– Danez Smith, author of Don’t Call Us Dead
“Julian Randall’s hard-hitting debut is a dispatch straight from the crosshairs of Chump’s Amerikkka. In poems that are raw, urgent, and formally dexterous, Randall testifies against a state that would just as soon see him dead as silenced.”
– John Murillo, Author of Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry
“In its raw ferocity and scintillating intelligence, Randall’s debut stands with those of the best of new voices”
– Diego Báez, Booklist (Starred Review)
PILAR RAMIREZ AND THE PRISON OF ZAFA | Fiction, Winter 2022
Expected publication in Winter 2022 by Henry Holt and Co.
Everything in twelve-year-old Pilar Violeta “Purp” Ramirez’s world is changing, and Pilar doesn’t care for it, not one bit. Her Logan Square neighborhood is gentrifying, her responsibilities at home seem to have doubled since her sister Lorena moved down to the University of Chicago, and to top it all off? Her best friend Celeste just moved to Milwaukee, right before they were going to make “Purp” catch on as a nickname at school. In fact, it seems like the only thing that isn’t changing is Abuela and Mami’s code of silence around her cousin Natasha—who disappeared in the Dominican Republic fifty years before Pilar was born—and their lives under the Trujillo regime.
So, when Pilar, a budding filmmaker, gets word that there’s a new professor at U. Chicago who studies disappearances under the Trujillato, she’s off on the train immediately. Only when she arrives, the professor is nowhere to be found. While looking around the papers stacked in his office, Pilar finds a folder with her cousin’s name on it. When she opens it, all that’s inside is a single blank sheet of paper. Then, she literally falls into it.
Pilar finds herself on Zafa—an island of Dominican myths and magic; where a girl matching Natasha’s description is imprisoned, alongside many others. Aided by Carmen—a mysterious girl—and four magical sisters, Pilar will have to face the Dominican boogeyman and his many minions if she has any hope of freeing Natasha and getting back home.