Cover and book illustrations by Alan Blackwell

Black Metamorphoses pierces a 2,000+ year-old veil inspired by a range of Ovidian myths while resisting a direct conversion of the work. This collection explores the Black psyche, body, soul, through inversion and brazen confrontation of work that has shaped Western civilization. 

In a poetic range of forms, voices, and rhythms, the reader is bathed in ancestral memory, myth, and sense of the timeless of the shapeshifting, resilient Black body. Black Metamorphoses is an interpretation, interrogation and communication with Ovid and also poses the bigger questions:

What does it mean for a body and a psyche to shape shift?

What are the intersections between gender, race and place across time?

Does and can power time travel? 

What happens when a whole group is stricken with a hunger that, when satiated, remains unquenchable while causing an unnamable, unquantifiable damage? 


Black Metamorphoses has been named a finalist in the 2021 Hudson prize, shortlisted for the 2021 Cowles Poetry Book Prize and longlisted for the 2021 Idaho poetry prize.


Alan Blackwell, studied drawing and painting at SUNY Purchase College in New York. He paints using ink and brush in stylized and repetitive brushstrokes to invoke subtleties of movement and imagery. While having a deep appreciation for calligraphy and fine brush work, Alan is also the product of comic books and graphic novels. His studies as an artist has included his time with a calligraphy master in China. He currently lives in Southern Vermont with his family. Of his work, Alan shares, “I have a singular goal when people view my artwork. I hope that the viewer will be able to see something unique to themselves. This can mean the slightest suggestion of a face or figure, a convergence of brush strokes, or perhaps a reversal of foreground and background. Flowing forms and repetitive brush strokes help to create a uniquely inviting environment. Stark contrasts and smooth edges create worlds whose depths I love to explore.”

Published Poems from the Collection:

How to Reverse a Conjure (for Remus) and Poisonwell Diaries: Psalms of the Ossuary
ITERANT Literary Magazine

"The Return of Hyena Man"
Featured within the NOMBONO: An Anthology of Speculative Poetry by BIPOC Creators From Around the Worldedited by Akua Lezli Hope (Print or Digital)

Using Format