cover image Village


LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs. Coffee House, $16.95 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-56689-661-0

Diggs (TwERK) delivers a potent second collection that explores themes of place, poverty, and trauma. Weaving German, Portuguese, Tagalog, and Tsalagi (the language of the Cherokee Nation) into her writing alongside brand names, music lyrics, and vivid descriptions, Diggs creates a unique sonic landscape for the poems that all but asks for them to be read aloud. Diggs offers instructions for how to celebrate her when she dies, (“Make/ certain that no one/ is ashy at the festivities”) and how to organize her father’s room as an altar (“vomit. eat. drink. punch. vomit. curse. sleep”). Other poems focus on the poet’s mother’s debilitating alcohol consumption: “diss dis ease :: dizzying :: not at ease.” In “Artist’s Statement,” Diggs writes that her mother’s experience was an embodiment of so many “seeking/ a better life up North & the many who did not accomplish such.” Yet Diggs has found ways to sing out through hardship, dedicating linguistic monuments to those in her Harlem community that stepped in to care for her. This is a dazzling and impressive work. (Feb.)