In this poetry collection, Sunu P. Chandy includes stories about her experiences as a woman, civil rights attorney, parent, partner, daughter of South Asian immigrants, and member of the LGBTQ community. These poems cover themes ranging from immigration, social justice activism, friendship loss, fertility challenges, adoption, caregiving, and life during a pandemic. Sunu’s poems provide some resolve, some peace, some community, amidst the competing notions of how we are expected to be in the world, especially when facing a range of barriers. Sunu’s poems provide company for many who may be experiencing isolation through any one of these experiences and remind us that we are not, in fact, going it alone. Whether the experience is being disregarded as a woman of color attorney, being rejected for being queer, losing a most treasured friendship, doubting one’s romantic partner or any other form of heartbreak, Sunu’s poems highlight the human requirement of continually starting anew. These poems remind us that we can, and we will, rebuild.
“In Sunu Chandy’s My Dear Comrades, she turns her exquisite attention toward everyday rituals of violence, indoctrination, and subjugation. Over and over, she interrogates some of our most-metabolized rituals, denying them the safety of invisibility, as when she writes: ‘Years later, during the middle of law school, I learned this rule by observation: We must stand when the judge enters the courtroom.’ And then later: ‘In that moment I learned much of what I needed to know about the law.’ At the heart of her refusal is a poetics and an ethics of discipline, tenderness, and attention that reminds me of the work of Martín Espada and Audre Lorde. My Dear Comrades is a stunningly lucid and deeply personal work about law and power, race and queerness. Love.” —Aracelis Girmay, author of the black maria and Kingdom Animalia
Sunu P. Chandy (she/her) is a social justice activist through her work as a poet and a civil rights attorney. Sunu’s collection of poems, My Dear Comrades, was selected for the 2021 Terry J. Cox Prize, for publication by Regal House in Spring 2023. Sunu’s work can also be found in Asian American Literary Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Poets on Adoption, Split this Rock’s online social justice database, The Quarry, and in anthologies including The Penguin Book of Indian Poets, The Long Devotion: Poets Writing Motherhood and This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation. Sunu also serves as the legal director for the National Women’s Law Center, and she is on the board of the Transgender Law Center. Sunu was proud to be included as one the 2021 Queer Women of Washington and one of Go Magazine’s 100 Women We Love: Class Of 2019. When recently asked what gives you joy, the first response that came to Sunu's mind was "friends." Sunu is delighted to be in community with friends, old and new, as we connect around our creative work and find solidarity and resonance.
Regie Cabico is the first Asian American Poet to win the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam and a 3 Time National Poetry Slam Finalist. Mr. Cabico is a teaching artist for The Virginia Commission for the Arts, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and his work has appeared on TEDx Talk, HBO's Def Poetry Jam and has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Poetry, Bellevue Literary Review. _Regie Cabico is the producer and publisher of Capturing Fire and co-edited _The Queer Cookie Cookbook with Tyler French. His collection of poetry_, A Rabbit in Search of a Rolex _is forthcoming from Day Eight Press.
Amber Flame is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, activist and educator, whose work has garnered residencies with Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center, and more. In her writing, Flame explores spirituality and sexuality, cross-woven with themes of grief and loss, motherhood and magic, and the interstitial joy in it all. A former church kid from the Southwest, Flame’s work is published in diverse arenas, including Def Jam Poetry, Nailed Magazine, Winter Tangerine, and Split This Rock, with her first full-length poetry collection, Ordinary Cruelty, published in 2017 through Write Bloody Press. Flame’s second book of poetry, apocrifa, launches May 2023 from Red Hen Press. As Program Director of Hedgebrook, she builds events and programs that amplify the voices of women-identified writers, and continues to work as a writing instructor in community and for currently and formerly incarcerated women and youth. In her spare time, Flame is working on a third poetry collection, making music with her band Last of the RedHot Mamas, making art, and raising her awesome kid. Amber Flame is a queer Black dandy mama who falls hard for a jumpsuit and some fresh kicks. Her new book APOCRIFA imagines a love that sits comfortably at the crossroads of commitment and freedom. The developing intimacy between a lover and their beloved is propelled by a compendium of words for love, romance, sex, relationships, and affection that do not lend to direct translation in English. Serving as both titles and markers of the progression of time, these poetically defined words highlight the growing tension of one who claims “i cannot love you enough/to unlove the wide world” and yet is inextricably drawn to the offer of “a place of sustenance, rest, and my delight in your very bones.” Heavily inspired by the metaphors and structures of Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon), from the Apocryphal books of the Bible, the characters speak to each other with contrapuntal call-and-response while letting us into their private thoughts through epistles, sestinas, odes, and other poetic forms. Jacqueline Woodson says about APOCRIFA, "An elegant, loving and lovely journey. Again and again, apocrifa lifts us up, drops us, then lifts us again. Finally setting us down exactly where we need to be."