Inaugural Poet Laureate of Albuquerque Releases His First Collection of Poems
A 35 year-old press helps get the 34 year-old author into the history books.
With more than 35 years and 100 titles to its credit, West End Press is fiercely independent publishing house founded in New Your City and now based in Albuquerque, NM. Joining a roster of distinguished West End Authors (such a Pablo Neruda and Meridel le Sueur), Albuquerque Poet Laureate Hakim Bellamy was also founded in the Northeast and now based in Albuquerque.
Though West End Press invited Bellamy to submit a manuscript many months before Bellamy was selected as Albuquerque’s first poet laureate, SWEAR is in print eleven months into his two-year appointment. With a book release party and reading announcement coming soon, here is what West End Press had to say about its newest author:
In his debut collection of hard-hitting poems, Albuquerque Poet Laureate Hakim Bellamy addresses the issues important to our day—politics, work, and art. Bellamy moves from a free-thinking attitude of deliverance to a provocative new space where the reader can reflect on the poet’s inquisition of the 1%, working class life in urban and rural America, and the transcendent value of hip hop as one of our top exports and global contributions.
Here are a few endorsements of the book:
SWEAR politicizes the human condition in a manner that balances the abstract with the concrete. Bellamy’s work is polemic like Amiri; satiric like Nietzsche; iconoclastic like Mao; passionate like Neruda. Ministering without preaching, Bellamy’s sense of metaphor whistle-blows on the top-down without fear of consequence.
Co-Founder of Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on HBO
Hakim Bellamy is a man engaged with the world. His words are more direct than lyrical. His poems are warning signs, headlines and prescriptions. From government to Occupy-the economic and political blues finds Bellamy wearing Langston’s hat and coat. Here is the same type of urgency Hughes felt in the 1930s after the Harlem Renaissance. Today our eyes turn to Albuquerque. SWEAR will tell you what’s coming next.
E. Ethelbert Miller
Author, activist, and director of the African American Center at Howard University
SWEAR is the physical embodiment of life in the digital age. Bellamy leaves no modern experience undisturbed. His observations, calling upon historical documents, economic structures, and political games, work to examine social and cultural norms that aren’t so normal. Swear’s themes cut through cultural, ethnic, and gendered models to thread together the human occurrences that binds us all while unveiling a pattern of institutional and systemic change. Bellamy creates an active reading experience, compelling the reader to envision how each word, clause, and statement speaks to a 21st century world, without the blinders of complacency and with an eye towards hope. Beyond simple rhetoric and a pithy turn of phrase, Bellamy takes the time to give voice to an America that is often overlooked. He embeds himself in each work, without making the works about him. I highly recommend this book.
Sonia Gipson Rankin
Director of African American Studies, University of New Mexico
For more endorsements and information (including the electronic press kit) about SWEAR, visit www.beyondpoetryink.com. Distributed by University of New Mexico Press, review copies and author interviews can be requested from West End Press by contacting Amanda Sutton at Amanda@westendpress.org. For more information on Hakim Bellamy, please visit www.hakimbe.com.