Winner of the Feminist Wire’s inaugural poetry contest, ford debuts with a fiery collection that uses language both evocatively rich and colloquially sharp and sly to capture the African American experience. Poems titled “past life portrait” range from the Negroes Burying Ground in Lower Manhattan, circa 1787, to the imagined thoughts of Rodney King, while the ambitious and deftly handled “black, brown, and beige (a movement in three parts)” echoes Duke Ellington’s symphony of the same name. (“Movement Three: Beige” says “this/ skin   a shade/ and a half past alright”). Another poem series, “how to get over,” offers tough-love advice: “unload the artillery/ of switch, shrapnel their eyes with/ bitch and fierce, drop dead// gorgeous.” VERDICT Drop-dead gorgeous indeed. [starred review, Library Journal]