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Rickey Laurentiis

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Rickey Laurentiis

Rickey Laurentiis is the author of Boy with Thorn (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and the Levis Reading Prize. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, among others. A 2018 Whiting Award winner, he lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

by this poet


        For Nicole and John

     She drew a name full of winning flesh,
Victory, I mean, so that any Yes she has to say
     We might say is a Yes achieved happily all her own—

And he drew a name large as any god,
     Large as a wall in the

I could string him back up the tree, if you’d like.
     Return his skin’s meaning to an easy distance, coal dust, blaze
And Willie Brown him. You
     Love how the blood muddies the original,
The way it makes a stage of my speechifying, this leeching
     Capital from his dying,
Like an activist. I know