REFUSE

 

 

“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

 

  

Randall’s work speaks to his refusal to abide by the expected boundaries and binaries set out for him. As we contemplate how to go forward in an America whose fault line runs deep, an immigrant son entrenched in the American experience, a black man owning his Dominican heritage, a sensualist uncowed by the magnetic poles of sexual appeals, a poet unabashedly forwards, interrogates, and illumines the fulsome measure of his ‘I’ . . . 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

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.