Through invention and remembrance, a little bump in the earthcreates a black town on a hill—its land, its losses, its living and ancestral dead.
Tyree Daye’s a little bump in the earthis an act of invention and remembrance. Through sprawling poems, the town of Youngsville, North Carolina, where Daye's family has lived for the last 200 years, is reclaimed as “Ritual House.” Here, “every cousin aunt uncle ghost” is welcome. Daye invokes real and imagined people, the ancestral dead, land, snakes, and chickens, to create a black town on a hill. Including dreams, letters, revised rental agreements, and “a little museum in the here & after,” where collaged images appear besides documents from Daye’s ancestors—census records, marriage licenses, and WWII Draft Registration cards—the collection asks if the past can be a portal to the future, the present a catalyst for the past. a little bump in the earthexplores what it means to love someone, someplace, even as it changes, dies right in front of your eyes. Poem by poem, Daye is honoring the people of Youngsville and “bringing back the dead.”
Tyree Daye (he/him) was raised in Youngsville, North Carolina. He is the author of the poetry collections a little bump in the earth (2024), Cardinal (2020), and River Hymns (2017), winner of the APR/Honickman First Book Prize. A Cave Canem fellow and a Palm Beach Poetry Festival Langston Hughes Fellow, Daye is the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award and a finalist for the Kate Tufts Award. He was the 2019 Diana and Simon Raab Writer-In-Residence at the University of California, Santa Barbara, an Amy Clampitt Residency recipient. Daye is an Assistant Professor at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Praise for River Hymns
“Tyree Daye is a blues poet of the first order, giving voice to the people of the rural South...no...the families of the... Actually, Tyree Daye wants to make immortal all of the people of the past who made a way for his existence, and these poems bring them and the land they called home back to life. The vernacular here is one of a man speaking out loud to his own soul.”—Jericho Brown
“These poems of longing and wonderment are woven out of a lyricism that can only exist when clarity of observation and imagination converge as one-of- a-kind songs within everyday things… The speaker troubles Southern light and the underbelly of black life, always returning to the heart to set things right.” —Yusef Komunyakaa
“More than just experiencing the North Carolina landscape he situates so squarely affixed to the Haw and Neuse, we undergo it. The insistence of imagery and referent in Daye's work is at times unsettling, at other times, wholly a rush of solace.”—Francine J. Harris
Praise for Cardinal
“A slim collection of beautiful poems about moving (leaving, returning, remembering)… Among the poems are what appear to be family photographs (slightly blurry, like memories), which deepen the feeling of the book as both elegy and archive.”—The New York Times
“Astonishing… Throughout this book, the poet channels both the living and the dead, and his forceful, highly personal understanding of the American Black diaspora transforms their testimonies into poignant songs.” —The Brooklyn Rail
“These are poems, direct yet lyrical, of navigation in a world that has changed since, but not nearly enough.” —Seattle Met
“Remarkable… In Daye’s work, people, places and things are nearly inseparable, invaluable in the act of shaping one another. The book walks along with them, the poet acting as a cartographer on the way… Generosity attends each of these pages, even as Daye totes hard truths.”—Columbia Daily Tribune
“These spare, elegiac poems also root their journeys in North Carolina, the landscape and family that Daye’s words mourn lovingly. Maybe all travel poems are also meditations on home, but this paradox seems acutely true in Cardinal. Red wings flash though the pages, suggesting the need for flight, yet this beautiful book is deeply grounded, defining territory as birdsong does.”—Harvard Review