Ashanti Anderson (they/them) is a Black Queer Disabled poet and writer. Ashanti is the author of Black Under, which won the Spring 2020 Black River Chapbook Competition at Black Lawrence Press. A 2023 NEA Fellow and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, their poems have also appeared in POETRY magazine, World Literature Today, and elsewhere. Ashanti's other published and produced works include essays, stage plays, screenplays, and tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs). They currently live and garden in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ashanti is represented by Nanda Dyssou at Coriolis Company.
Contact: ashanticreates [at] gmail [dot] com
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Cover art by Mariah Quintanilla.
Poems by Ashanti Anderson
Winner of the Spring 2020 Black River Chapbook Competition
The poem from which Black Under derives its title opens with a resounding declaration: “I am black and black underneath.” These words are an anthem that reverberates throughout Ashanti Anderson’s debut short collection. We feel them as we navigate her poems’ linguistic risks and shifts and trumpets, as we straddle scales that tip us toward trauma’s still-bloody knife in one turn then into cutting wit and shrewd humor in the next. We hear them amplified through Anderson’s dynamic voice, which sings of anguish and atrocities and also of discovery and beauty.
Black Under layers outward perception with internal truth to offer an almost-telescopic examination of the redundancies—and incongruences—of marginalization and hypervisibility. Anderson torques the contradictions of oppression, giving her speakers the breathing room to discover their own agency. In these pages, declarations are reclamations, and joy is not an aspiration but a birthright.
PRAISE FOR BLACK UNDER:
—Marcus Wicker, author of Silencer and Maybe the Saddest Thing
"Each piece provides the reader with an awakening..."
—Sara Borjas, author of Heart Like a Window, Mouth Like a Cliff
"Black Under... will knock you back."
—Kay Ulanday Barrett, cultural strategist and author of More Than Organs, a 2021 Stonewall Honor Award Book
"This book, Black Under, defies what poetry is supposed to look like, what it’s supposed to read like; how it’s supposed to make you feel."
—Luther Hughes, founder of Shade Literary Arts
Jet Fuel Review
STAGE & SCREEN
Short Film | Credit: Writer
Winner of the 2018 Haley's Flight Page to Screen Short Film Competition
A young woman races against the clock to finish her term paper on time while being harassed by annoying classmates.
One Act Play | Credit: Writer
When a conjure woman perfects a potion for “Black power,” she uncovers the nefarious desires of her clients.
ESSAYS ET AL.
Kick a**—and look good while doing it.
Come At They Necks is an action-packed combat-heavy print-and-play tabletop role-playing game for 2 or more players. Play as sexy cool vampires living together in a giant mansion where you spend most days minding your business. Rumor has it, a bunch of Haters plan on breaking in and killing you all as you lay snoring in your coffins. Keep your head on straight or your it might get knocked off.
Be My Neighbor
Help your neighbor (without calling the police).