FINNA: Poems By Nate Marshall

Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: One World (August 11, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0593132459


Sharp, lyrical poems celebrating the Black vernacular—its influence on pop culture, its necessity for familial survival, its rite in storytelling and in creating the safety found only within its intimacy

Definition of finna, created by the author: fin·na /ˈfinə/ contraction: (1) going to; intending to [rooted in African American Vernacular English] (2) eye dialect spelling of “fixing to” (3) Black possibility; Black futurity; Blackness as tomorrow

These poems consider the brevity and disposability of Black lives and other oppressed people in our current era of emboldened white supremacy, and the use of the Black vernacular in America’s vast reserve of racial and gendered epithets. Finna explores the erasure of peoples in the American narrative; asks how gendered language can provoke violence; and finally, how the Black vernacular, expands our notions of possibility, giving us a new language of hope:

nothing about our people is romantic
& it shouldn’t be. our people deserve
poetry without meter. we deserve our
own jagged rhythm & our own uneven
walk towards sun. you make happening happen.
we happen to love. this is our greatest


“Simply outstanding poetry.”—Roxane Gay, author of Hunger and Bad Feminist

“I am thankful for the honesty and self-examination in this work, yes. But even beyond that, I am thankful for a speaker who speaks as my people might, yelling across a parking lot or during a card game. I am thankful that this, too, is a part of the honesty this marvelous collection is in pursuit of.”—Hanif Abdurraqib, author of Go Ahead in the Rain and A Fortune for Your Disaster

“My original blurb was ‘this book decent,’ but I was told that the editor wouldn’t go for that so I am going to tell you instead that this book catalyzes a necessary conversation about Black language practices, culture, ownership, and belonging, and the commodification of Black people’s tongues. . . . So, like I said, this book decent.”—Eve L. Ewing, author of Electric Arches and 1919

“These poems here, these backhand slaps of what-you-didn’t-know-you-needed, finna be that swift fissure in the landscape of lyric. This werk is relentlessly rhythmed, deja-Chi all over again, and it’s finna hit harder than necessary or known. These snippets of precisely bladed black boy gospel, penned by the nonpareil son of the wild hundreds, finna resound and reach an impossible reach—in fact, if karma knows its stuff, this craved-for and combustible collection finna find itself peeking from the back pocket of that other Nate Marshall’s stiff and sturdy MAGA-issued denims.”—Patricia Smith, author of Incendiary Art


Nate Marshall is an award-winning writer, rapper, educator, and editor. He is the author and editor of numerous works including Wild Hundreds and The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. Nate is a member of The Dark Noise Collective and co-directs Crescendo Literary. He is an assistant professor of English at Colorado College. He is from the South Side of Chicago.


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