What Noise Against the Cane Desiree C. Bailey, Carl Phillips

Yale Series of Younger Poets
Publication date:
11 May 2021
Yale University Press
96 pages: 235 x 156mm

What Noise Against the Cane is a lyric quest for belonging and freedom, weaving political resistance, Caribbean folklore, immigration and the realities of Black life in America. Desiree C. Bailey begins by reworking the epic in an oceanic narrative of bondage and liberation in the midst of the Haitian Revolution. The poems move into the contemporary Black diaspora, probing the mythologies of home, belief, nation and womanhood. Series judge Carl Phillips observes that Bailey's “poems argue for hope and faith equally. . . . These are powerful poems, indeed, and they make a persuasive argument for the transformative powers of steady defiance.”

Desiree C. Bailey is the author of the fiction chapbook In Dirt or Saltwater and has been published in Best American Poetry, Academy of American Poets, Callaloo and elsewhere. She was born in Trinidad and Tobago, and grew up in Queens, NY.