Never Catch Me
Darius Simpson’s debut collection Never Catch Me centers on Black boyhood in the midwest and familial disintegration over time. Simpson pulls back the curtain, exposing the violence enacted against and upon, Black bodies, and yet, still, each poem is saturated in revolution and hope. Never Catch Me is the anthem necessary to organize a community that is committed to a better right now–one that can only be achieved with an intensity and action that goes far beyond the page.
2023 Midwest Book Award Winner
2023 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow
Praise for Darius Simpson
Never Catch Me belongs in the throat of every megaphone, each line, an anthem; a heart-crafted survival map; an elegy; a timely call to action finessed with acute wordplay. To be Black and alive with this brilliant collection of poems in hand is a gentle reminder that ‘…my people make outfit accessories outta silver lining.’ Simpson’s work is boisterous, urgent, and unintentionally holy.
— Janae Johnson, author of Lessons on Being Tenderheaded
Following in the footsteps of the earth-shaking Revolutionary writings of the ‘60s and ‘70s, Never Catch Me is at once a book of dynamic poetry, brutally honest self-reflection, and a call to consistent Revolutionary action. Simpson combines a dynamic ability to manipulate language with humor, sarcasm, suspense and transparency to create this bold and necessary work.
This book requires readers to reflect on who we are, who we are not, and who we wish to become in the fight towards liberation of all oppressed peoples. This is a damn good book that students, educators, long time lovers of poetry and those new to the craft will return to again and again.
— Imani Cezanne, 2020 Woman of the World Poetry Slam Champion
In these pages, a two-step is a righteous rhythm bucking against the one & three count of the illegitimate state. Here, love is both a war drum and unclenched scraped knuckles. Not only do the poems in Never Catch Me chronicle, but they’re an urgent call to action. For what is a revolution without dancing? Here is the cadence, a reverent masterpiece!
— Daniel B. Summerhill, author of Divine, Divine, Divine & Mausoleum of Flowers
Never Catch Me is a family reunion with the cousins you like best. It’s a road trip with beloved friends and the best playlist. The poems are thicc and rich with music. It’s an affirmation, an invitation to fall in love with ourselves through a kind and generous mirror. It’s double claps at church as a manifestation toward freedom.
— Suzi Q. Smith, author of A Gospel of Bones & Poems for the End of the World
Never Catch Me is every word for revolution that revolution never thought to use for itself. Line after line, defying language expectation as resistance, Simpson wraps us in a sculpture of Black celebration, pain, joy, struggle, and liberation. If there is a single word to describe the power of Simpson’s voice, the English language hasn’t found it yet.
— Landon Smith, author of No Bedtime Stories of Soil