“I make her a charade of holy
a stampede of raw
She can barely look at anything
She everything’s wife.”
-from Angel’s Heart Clowns the Ocean
What in God’s black earth am I to say of Angel Nafis? Understand that in lieu of writing about her, I was tempted to post of black kids singing Nina Simone’s "I got life" next to a fire in an undisclosed backyard BBQ, but I couldn’t find no ribs. Understand that Angel is everything right with poetry. She is so unapologetically herself in her writing, which allows her to take up so much space with her pieces of holy, holy that we will go ahead and call poems. Angel often writes about the idea of everything, of all, of the world, but in such a masterful way that we can’t question the everything and everywhere of her world, of her black girl brilliance in is vastness and depth. I am HERE for Angel Nafis. Never have I encountered someone so in touch with language that she can hold it up against her skin and sweat with it just as quick as she can give it the finger start and slamming doors all up in her poems. Her book, Black Girl Mansion (in which I would expect to find aunties like Harriet Mullen, Tracy K. Smith, and Patricia Smith), is a heaven I want to live in. Her poems on family & lost, of need to love and need to be loved, on the black of her skin and the black of this world all sing their songs so loud, tipsy, and brilliant. They make you want to read the whole thing out loud, to give the world back the beauty, which it has given us through Angel. That beauty is Angel’s proof of pain, of love, of fun, of lust, of all the things a human can and should experience, is so brilliantly fit into her poems and we are lucky enough to be sharing this earth right now to get to experience that. So, if you don’t already know the deal, get into Angel Nafis, and let her boogie and holy funk get all the way up into you, move you, and bring you into the sky.