& everything Black, I root for
Moving beyond a biting indictment of American popular culture, Jameka Williams captures the reader’s gaze and stares right back: “I’m sorry, America, but I’m rich in baby oil & paperback novels only these days. So finish paying for me with what is mint. No conditions.” In this stunning debut collection, Williams offers a deeply personal investigation into how Americans (herself included) have been duped, buying into classism, sexism, and racist beauty ideals, while sacrificing the freedom of self-love and self-determination. With whip-fast profanity and fiery humor, she charts a tender, exalting, and vibrant path to freedom from mirrors, stages, and screens.
Fiercely feminist, Black, American, and powerful, Williams speaks for a generation of obsessive social media influencers and consumers, revealing the complex ways in which we are all actors, witnesses, and victims in our public and private performances. Though we may be permanent residents of this soulless cultural landscape, this stunning collection refuses to let it define us.
Winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry, selected by Brian Teare
I am not the same machine which came rambling
off the conveyor belt, hugging the bolts & wires
spilling from her vivisection. I’m last year’s model
with a sleeker, softer system of cool disdain for
my Internet addictions.
—Excerpt from “I Intend to Outlast”
Praise for Jameka Williams
Every now and then, but rarely, a book of poems comes along that is biblical in its authority and iconoclastic in its capacity to rearrange or explode the furniture, the nation, and the self. American Sex Tape™ is one of those.
– Diane Seuss, author of frank: sonnets
About Jameka Williams
Jameka Williams holds an MFA in poetry from Northwestern University. Her poetry has been published in Prelude Magazine, Gigantic Sequins, Muzzle Magazine, Yemassee Journal, Tupelo Quarterly, Jet Fuel Review, and Oyez Review, among others. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she is a Best New Poets 2020 finalist, published annually by the University of Virginia, and is featured in New American Press’s New Poetry of the Midwest 2019. She resides in Chicago, Illinois.