Brief Black Candles


Poems by Lydia K. Valentine

Publication Date: 2020
Publisher: Not A Pipe Publishing

The debut poetry poetry collection by poet, playwright, director and dramaturg Lydia K. Valentine. “In Brief Black Candles, Lydia Valentine attends, with passionate velocity, to questions of survivability, remembrance and the creative art of living a fully human life, even in contexts and conditions that work against that what-it-could-be. …reading becomes a mode of witness. … Haptic, revolutionary and unflinching, this is a powerful debut collection by a poet who does not, and cannot, ‘in this time-/ in this place-‘, look away.” – Bhanu Kapil

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About the Author

Lydia K. Valentine is a playwright and poet, director and dramaturg, editor and educator. Her proudest accomplishment, though, is being a mom to two creative, intelligent, and caring individuals and activists. In her own writing and the projects to which she contributes through Lyderary Ink, Lydia seeks to amplify the voices of those who are often stifled, ignored, and marginalized in what has been the accepted narrative of the United States. Lydia’s first poetry collection, Brief Black Candles, was published in November 2020 by Not a Pipe Publishing.

Praise for Brief Black Candles

“In her debut collection, Lydia Valentine interrogates and remembers.  ‘I keep my ghosts close,’ she writes, ‘to know who I am.’ And she knows who she is. With Brief Black Candles, Valentine names what, and who, must be named. It is her poet’s work to do so. She witnesses, from within her own body, the work of survival and visibility, of accounting for all children and answering for each violence. Valentine explores the ways we touch one another and the spaces between us. ‘The barrier between/ us was built by your hands.’ She speaks the harms we have done; she calls us to the work of repair. ‘I can’t/ Reasonably understand why everyone/Isn’t running through the streets, screaming.’ Here you will find wounds and loss. Candles extinguished, burning and drowning. Young men turned into symbols. But you will also find new and bursting life, ‘stronger than any sea, any fear.’ You will discover the ‘swollen berry promise’ of love, you will be reminded of wisdom earned in pain, ‘unless it’s hurting, I don’t remember what to avoid.'” – Tina Ontiveros, author of rough house

Brief Black Candles is hauntingly beautiful. Valentine weaves a text that is rich in sensory, place and imagery, She forces life to explain itself, the grief, the sting of love, lust, and family. She demands answers, calling them, you and us to walk through the museums of our minds, reckon with our ghosts, embrace our angels and be our own crooked superheroes.” Kellie Richardson, Tacoma Poet Laureate (2017-2019) and author of The Art of Naming My Pain


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