No Sweet Without Brine: Poems (Paperback)

No Sweet Without Brine: Poems By Cynthia Manick Cover Image

No Sweet Without Brine: Poems (Paperback)

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Voted one of the Best Books of 2023 by the New York Public Library, Cynthia Manick’s poetry collection personifies love of self and culture through fresh observations and bitter truths voiced with breathtaking lyricism.

No Sweet Without Brine is both a soulful and celebratory collection that summons sticky sweet memories with an acrid aftertaste of deep thought. Satisfying moments are captured in odes to Idris Elba’s dulcet tones on a meditation app and the satisfaction of half-priced Entenmann’s poundcake; in childlike observations of parental Black love, the coveted female form on Jet Magazine covers, and the desire for Zamunda to be a real place full of Black joy. The sour taps into an analysis of reclusiveness, silencing catcalls from men on the street, and detailed recipes and advice to the Black girls forced to endow themselves with armor against the world.

Cynthia Manick’s latest is a playlist of everyday life, introverted thoughts, familial bonds, and social commentary. In piercing language, she traces the circle of life for a narrator who dares to exist between youthful remembrances and adulthood realities. Each poem in No Sweet Without Brine is a reminder that a hint of sorrow makes the celebration and recognition of the glory of Blackness in all ways, and through all people, that much sweeter.

Cynthia Manick is the author of No Sweet Without Brine (Amistad-HarperCollins, 2023), which received 5 stars from Roxane Gay, was named among the “Best Poetry of the Last Year” by Ms. Magazine, and was selected as a New York Public Library Best Book of 2023. She is editor of The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry; winner of the Lascaux Prize in Collected Poetry; and author of Blue Hallelujahs. Manick has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, MacDowell, and Château de la Napoule among other foundations. For 10 years she curated Soul Sister Revue, a quarterly reading series that promoted poetry as storytelling and featured emerging poets, poet laureates, and Pultizer Prize winners. Her poem “Things I Carry into the World” was made into a film by Motionpoems and has debuted on Tidal for National Poetry Month. A storyteller and performer at literary festivals, libraries, universities, and museums, Manick’s work has also featured in VOICES, an audio play by Aja Monet and Eve Ensler’s V-Day, the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day Series, Brooklyn Rail, The Rumpus and other outlets. She currently serves on the editorial board of Alice James Books. She lives in New York but travels widely for poetry.


Product Details ISBN: 9780063244306
ISBN-10: 0063244306
Publisher: Amistad
Publication Date: April 4th, 2023
Pages: 144
Language: English

“These are exuberant, engaging poems composed with confidence and flair. I loved this book from beginning to end. Some real standouts include 'Rx for Little Black Girls,' 'We Make Sin a Good Hymn,' and 'Ode to JET Magazine' but really it’s all outstanding, intelligent, referential in interesting ways.”
—Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist and Hunger