Cotton by Derrick Harriell


Willow Books


To order:

Verse Wisconsin review for COTTON:

Praise for COTTON:

“In his remarkable debut collection, Cotton, Derrick Harriell has created a mural in poems. The characters that inhabit this vivid tableau step into an active third dimension and allow us to witness the vicissitudes of their daily struggles, triumphs large and small, private desires. The community here is anchored by a specific mid-Western, African-American family which, in spite of both external and internal challenges, maintains its unity, however precarious at times. Death, passion, humor, mother wit, history, place, these are the colors that Harriell mixes and applies with such artistry that readers may not be so sure if they are watching a particular world or if that world is watching them. Harriell is among America’s most exciting new voices in poetry.” –Maurice Kilwein Guevara, Author of Poema

“All African Americans have a historic relationship with cotton. The southern United States was once the world s major supplier of cotton, King Cotton. It fueled the 19th Century s need for increasing the slave trade. The migrations of the freedmen could never put distance to that fact. Derrick Harriell’s poems are the doors in the neighborhoods where they settled. The people of the streets, the houses, and the bars live in these poems. The personal family history of blues and redemptions are woven in the fabric, too. Both, noble and wicked traditions are revealed in a rich credible vernacular, a musical voice, like a storyteller sitting in your kitchen or on the barstool beside you testifying to the significant particulars, situations of poetic truths, the edgy full dimensions deep within the culture. Cotton is a stirring debut, and Derrick Harriell is a blues poet.” –Gary Copeland Lilley, Author of The Subsequent Blues


Derrick Harriell was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He holds a Ph.D. from UW-Milwaukee and a MFA in Creative Writing from Chicago State University. He is a Professor of Creative Writing and African-American Studies at the University of Mississippi, having formerly taught Creative Writing at UW-Milwaukee. He has presented in conferences such as the Idlewild Writers Conference and will present at Chicago State University in 2013. A former assistant poetry editor for Third World Press, Harriell served as poetry editor for The Cream City Review. A Pushcart Nominee, Harriell’s poems have appeared in various literary journals and anthologies, including The Cream City Review, Reverie, the Lamplighter Review and Main Street Rag. His first collection, Cotton, was published by Willow Books. His second collection, ROPES, an epistolary book of persona poems told from the perspective of historical boxers, is forthcoming from Willow Books.

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